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Employment And Mobility Of Workers In Industries With Different Intensity Of Innovation: Evidence On Italy From A Panel Of Workers And Firms


  • Lia Pacelli
  • Fabio Rapiti
  • Rlccardo Revelli


In this paper a panel of workers and firms is used to investigate employment composition and dynamics in industries which differ by innovation intensity. To define the latter industry-wide statistics were used (for a subset of 2,800 firms, individual data on R&D expenditures and investments in innovative processes were available from a survey on manufacturing). Firms and workers are observed over the period 1985-1991. The paper document an high rate of labour turnover. Annual separation rates are high in all size-classes, but they decline from 50% in small firms (less than 20 employees) to 13% in large ones (with more than 1,000 employees). Separations are inversely related to an industry's innovative intensity (from 18% in the highly innovative industries to 31% in the traditional industries). A logit model, which controlled for the characteristics of workers and firms, showed that the probability of separation is higher among manual and young workers and decreases monotonically with the firm size. The probability of separation declines as job tenure and, perhaps more importantly, the individual's wage increases. After controlling for these factors, the evidence suggests that the highest probability of separation is in traditional industries, the lowest is in the more innovative industries. The result is strengthened when firm-level data on R&D and other innovative expenditures are used. Other things being equal, firms that invest in R&D have a more stable labour force, and firms that invest in non-innovative processes have a less stable labour force. We therefore find empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that more innovative firms cultivate more durable employer-employee relationships. The fraction of job-to-job moves (with no intervening period of unemployment) on total separations qualifies the turnover of workers. Controlling for firm size, the percentage of job-to-job moves increases fairly regularly with worker's skills and with the industry's innovative intensity. Thus the innovative intensity of he industry appears to have a positive effect on the share of job-to-job moves, while there is some evidence that it lowers the chances of separation. This result may be linked to the skills and specialisations of the workforce; it is certainly related to the higher demand for labour in the High Tech Sectors (where employment is growing) relative to the less innovative sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Lia Pacelli & Fabio Rapiti & Rlccardo Revelli, 1998. "Employment And Mobility Of Workers In Industries With Different Intensity Of Innovation: Evidence On Italy From A Panel Of Workers And Firms," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2-4), pages 273-300.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:5:y:1998:i:2-4:p:273-300
    DOI: 10.1080/10438599800000008

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Breschi & Camilla Lenzi, 2010. "Spatial patterns of inventors' mobility: Evidence on US urban areas," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(2), pages 235-250, June.
    2. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:8:p:1519-1530 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lia Pacelli, 2002. "Fixed Term Contracts, Social Security Rebates and Labour Demand in Italy," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 7, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.


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