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Public jobs and capabilities: the case of the Italian waste sector

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  • Ambra Poggi

Abstract

In Italy, employment in waste collection has been widely used to reduce unemployment and create political consensus (especially in the South). Having secure jobs allows people to achieve income stability. But, income is just a means to an end and the goods and services or ‘commodities’ it buys are simply particular ways of achieving the freedom or valuable opportunities (capabilities) to lead the kind of lives the people want to lead, to do what they want to do and be the person they want to be. The aim of this paper is evaluate employment in waste collection as policy able to expand the quality and the quantity of people’s opportunities (capabilities). We present qualitative empirical evidence that public jobs in waste collection lead to the expansion of the capability sets improving people well-being. On the other hand, health problems related to physically demanding jobs can limit the capability sets. Moreover, workers experience limitations in the quality and the quantity of opportunities they face; but, they do not perceive such limitations since their aspirations are also limited and, therefore, they do not have stimulus to improve the negative aspects of their life.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies in its series LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series with number 127.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cca:wplabo:127

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Stephan Danninger & Massimo Rostagno, 1999. "Redistribution Through Public Employment: The Case of Italy," NBER Working Papers 7387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ingrid Robeyns, 2005. "The Capability Approach: a theoretical survey," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 93-117.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Alois Stutzer, . "The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 124, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 2006. "Capability, Happiness and Adaptation in Sen and J. S. Mill," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 20-32, March.
  6. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  7. David Clark, 2009. "Adaptation, Poverty and Well-Being: Some Issues and Observations with Special Reference to the Capability Approach and Development Studies," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 21-42.
  8. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "What Drives Public Employment?," NBER Working Papers 6141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Clark & Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2008. "Core Poverty, Vagueness and Adaptation: A New Methodology and Some Results for South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 519-544.
  10. Poggi, Ambra, 2010. "Job satisfaction, working conditions and aspirations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 936-949, December.
  11. Tania Burchardt, 2005. "Are One Man’s Rags Another Man’s Riches? Identifying Adaptive Expectations using Panel Data," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 57-102, October.
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