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Wage Premia and Skill Upgrading in Italy: Why didn’t the Hound Bark?

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  • Paolo Manasse

    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna)

  • Luca Stanca

    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca and London School of Economics)

  • Alessandro Turrini

    (Department of Economics, University of Bergamo)

Abstract

This paper presents firm level evidence on the dynamics of nonmanual wage premia and employment shares in Italian manufacturing during the nineties. We find that the relative stability of aggregate wage premia and employment shares hides offsetting disaggregate forces. First, while technical progress raises the relative demand for skilled labor within firms, demand changes associated with exports reduce the relative demand for skills. Second, within the class of nonmanual workers, wage premia and employment shares of executives rise substantially, whereas those of clerks fall in a similar proportion. We also find that the export status of firms plays a key role in explaining labour market dynamics, as exporters account for most of both demand-related and technology-related shifts. Overall, our results for Italy question the general validity of the conventional view that emphasizes the role of labor market institutions, as opposed to trade and technology, in determining wage and employment dynamics in continental Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Manasse & Luca Stanca & Alessandro Turrini, 2001. "Wage Premia and Skill Upgrading in Italy: Why didn’t the Hound Bark?," Working Papers 37, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2001.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:37
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna M. Falzoni & Alessandra Venturini & Claudia Villosio, 2004. "Wage Differentials and International Trade in Italy Using Individual Micro Data 1991-1996," Development Working Papers 190, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    2. Paolo Manasse & Luca Stanca, 2002. "Working on the Train: Technology, Trade and Wages in Italian Manufacturing," Working Papers 61, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2002.
    3. Irene Iodice & Chiara Tomasi, 2016. "Skill upgrading and wage gap: a decomposition analysis for Italian manufacturing firms," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 33(2), pages 201-232, August.
    4. Piva, Mariacristina & Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 2005. "The skill bias effect of technological and organisational change: Evidence and policy implications," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 141-157, March.
    5. Aleksandra Parteka, 2012. "Skilled-Unskilled Wage Gap Versus Evolving Trade And Labour Market Structures in the EU," Working Papers 1204, Instytut Rozwoju, Institute for Development.
    6. Mara GRASSENI, 2004. "Technology, MNEs activity and Italian skill upgrading," Departmental Working Papers 2004-25, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    7. Accetturo, Antonio & Bugamelli, Matteo & Lamorgese, Andrea R., 2013. "Skill upgrading and exports," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 417-420.
    8. Anna M. Falzoni & Lucia Tajoli, 2011. "Offshoring and the Skill Composition of Employment in the Italian Manufacturing Industries," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 121-153, January-M.
    9. Andrea Caggese & Vicente Cunat, 2013. "Financing Constraints, Firm Dynamics, Export Decisions, and Aggregate Productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 177-193, January.
    10. Anna M. Falzoni & Alessandra Venturini & Claudia Villosio, 2007. "Skilled and Unskilled Wage Dynamics in Italy in the ‘90s: Changes in the individual characteristics, institutions, trade and technology," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 61, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    11. Dumont, Michel, 2004. "The Impact of International Trade with Newly Industrialised Countries on the Wages and Employment of Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Workers in the European Union," Thesis Commons bmxag, Center for Open Science.
    12. Valeria Gattai, 2015. "Internationalisation and performance at the firm-level: what we learn from Italy," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 475-509, December.
    13. Nathalie Chusseau & Michel Dumont & Joël Hellier, 2008. "Explaining Rising Inequality: Skill‐Biased Technical Change And North–South Trade," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 409-457, July.
    14. Paolo Ghinetti, 2007. "Technology Innovations, Organisational Changes and Firms’ Wages in Italy," Working Papers 111, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    15. Dumont, Michel, 2006. "The reliability-or lack thereof-of data on skills," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 348-353, December.
    16. Shiyang Li & Huasheng Zhu, 2020. "Agglomeration Externalities and Skill Upgrading in Local Labor Markets: Evidence from Prefecture-Level Cities of China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(16), pages 1-15, August.
    17. Marianne Matthee & Neil Rankin & Carli Bezuidenhout, 2017. "Labour demand and the distribution of wages in South African manufacturing exporters," WIDER Working Paper Series 011, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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