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Structural change and human capital in the Italian productive system


  • Fabiano Schivardi
  • Roberto Torrini

    () (Università di Cagliari and EIEF
    Banca d'Italia)


We study the role of human capital in the restructuring process of the Italian economy. Italy displays a large and persistent gap in the share of college graduates in the population (12% in 2007) with respect to the rest of Europe (24%). The introduction of the 3+2 reform has significantly increased the supply of college graduates, mostly absorbed by the private sector. Firm level evidence indicates that the growth in graduate employment is due almost entirely to a “within” firm component rather than to a shift of the productive structure from low to high human capital activities. We also find that a higher share of college graduates at the local level is positively associated with restructuring activities and with productivity growth. This indicates that increasing the educational attainments of the workforce is key to overcome the phase of stagnating productivity growth that characterizes the Italian economy since the mid nineties.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabiano Schivardi & Roberto Torrini, 2010. "Structural change and human capital in the Italian productive system," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 69(3), pages 119-167, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gde:journl:gde_v69_n3_p119-167

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Stasz, Cathleen, 2001. "Assessing Skills for Work: Two Perspectives," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 385-405, July.
    6. Gabriele Ballarino & Massimiliano Bratti, 2009. "Field of Study and University Graduates' Early Employment Outcomes in Italy during 1995-2004," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(3), pages 421-457, September.
    7. Daniele CHECCHI & Stefano Maria IACUS & Giuseppe PORRO, 2004. "Formazione e percorsi lavorativi dei laureati dell'Università degli Studi di Milano (IIa edizione: laureati 1999)," Departmental Working Papers 2004-04, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Bertola & Paolo Sestito, 2011. "A Comparative Perspective on Italy's Human Capital Accumulation," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 06, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Caroleo, Floro Ernesto & Pastore, Francesco, 2017. "Overeducation at a glance. Determinants and wage effects of the educational mismatch based on AlmaLaurea data," GLO Discussion Paper Series 15, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. repec:bdi:workqs:qse_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Piero Cipollone, Andrea Cutillo, 2013. "Overeducation Or Asymmetric Information?," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 67(2), pages 123-138, April-Jun.

    More about this item


    human capital; tertiary education; firm restructuring; growth;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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