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The Italian productivity slow-down: the role of the bargaining model

  • Leonello Tronti

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the role of the Protocol '93 bargaining model in favouring the slow-down of the Italian economy and to design a correction. Design/methodology/approach – The impact of the Protocol on factor income distribution is assessed through a deterministic dynamic model, and tested for the 1993-2008 period. The paper explores theoretically and empirically the weakening of the incentives for both workers and employers to engage in fostering productivity. Findings – In a macroeconomic setting with structural imbalance between the product and the labour markets reforms, the bargaining model has automatically increased up to 2002 the capital share in income, reducing the incentives for both social partners to accelerate productivity, as the labour share in income and the propensity to invest are co-integrated (Johansen test). An analytical solution for correcting the bargaining distributive bias is proposed. Research limitations/implications – Further research should provide a picture of the different distributive behaviours of industrial sectors, particularly for industries exposed to/protected from international competition. The actual functioning of the new bargaining model (the Accordo Quadro of 2009) should also be assessed. Practical implications – The bargaining model should be reformed so as to restore the right incentives for social partners. National industry-wide wage bargaining should both incentivise and complement insufficient local bargaining. Social implications – The benefit of increased productivity and resumed growth has vast social implications, especially with reference to the sustainability of the welfare system. Originality/value – The scientific literature has lacked any formal description of the dynamic operation of the Italian bargaining model, which is particularly valuable to both social partners and policy makers.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (November)
Pages: 770-792

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:31:y:2010:i:7:p:770-792
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  1. Acocella Nicola & Leoni Riccardo, 2010. "La riforma della contrattazione: redistribuzione perversa o produzione di reddito?," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 237-274.
  2. Leonello Tronti, 2007. "The July Protocol and Economic Growth: The Chance Missed," AIEL Series in Labour Economics, in: Nicola Acocella & Riccardo Leoni (ed.), Social Pacts, Employment and Growth. A Reappraisal of Ezio Tarantelli’s Thought, edition 1, chapter 5, pages 69-95 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
  3. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2001. "Macroeconomic Effects of Regulation and Deregulation in Goods and Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 8120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Enrico Saltari & Giuseppe Travaglini, 2009. "The Productivity Slowdown Puzzle. Technological and Non-technological Shocks in the Labor Market," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 483-509.
  5. Francesco Pastore, 2010. "Assessing the impact of incomes policy: the Italian experience," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(7), pages 793-817, November.
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