IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sap/wpaper/wp246.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Breaking the Divide: Can Public Spending on Social Infrastructure Boost Female Employment in Italy?

Author

Listed:
  • Jelena Reljic
  • Francesco Zezza

Abstract

We contribute to the long-standing debate on the Italian North–South divide by assessing the impact of public spending on social infrastructure - including education, healthcare, childcare and social assistance - on the gender employment gap over the last two decades, using a P-SVAR analysis. These investments, while not explicitly targeting women, may increase both their labour supply - by reducing the unpaid care work burden - and pro-women labour demand through job creation in care sectors that predominantly employ women. Our research reveals a positive and long-lasting impact of social infrastructure expenditure on private investment, GDP and employment in all areas of the country. However, the reduction of the gender employment gap is detected only in the South and among high-skilled women. These results stress the need for targeted policies to fill the investment gaps in social infrastructure, aiming for a more inclusive labour market, particularly in Southern regions, which suffer from chronic underinvestment and structural challenges.

Suggested Citation

  • Jelena Reljic & Francesco Zezza, 2024. "Breaking the Divide: Can Public Spending on Social Infrastructure Boost Female Employment in Italy?," Working Papers in Public Economics 246, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Economics and Law.
  • Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp246
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://web.uniroma1.it/dip_ecodir/sites/default/files/wpapers/wp246.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 205-230, Winter.
    2. Akitoby Bernardin & Honda Jiro & Miyamoto Hiroaki, 2022. "Countercyclical fiscal policy and gender employment: evidence from the G-7 countries," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 12(1), pages 1-23, January.
    3. Mario Pianta & Jelena Reljic, 2022. "The good jobs-high innovation virtuous circle," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 39(3), pages 783-811, October.
    4. Fabrizio Colonna & Stefania Marcassa, 2015. "Taxation and female labor supply in Italy," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, December.
    5. Sebastian Gechert, 2015. "What fiscal policy is most effective? A meta-regression analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 553-580.
    6. Fanti, Lucrezia & Pereira, Marcelo C. & Virgillito, Maria Enrica, 2023. "The North-South divide: Sources of divergence, policies for convergence," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 405-429.
    7. Sergio Destefanis & Mario Di Serio & Matteo Fragetta, 2022. "Regional multipliers across the Italian regions," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 1179-1205, September.
    8. A. Cetrulo & D. Guarascio & M. E. Virgillito, 2022. "Working from home and the explosion of enduring divides: income, employment and safety risks," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 39(2), pages 345-402, July.
    9. Maria Delgado Coelho & Aieshwarya Davis & Mr. Alexander D Klemm & Ms. Carolina Osorio-Buitron, 2022. "Gendered Taxes: The Interaction of Tax Policy with Gender Equality," IMF Working Papers 2022/026, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation," Working Papers 811, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    11. Özlem Onaran & Cem Oyvat & Eurydice Fotopoulou, 2022. "A Macroeconomic Analysis of the Effects of Gender Inequality, Wages, and Public Social Infrastructure: The Case of the UK," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 152-188, April.
    12. Castagnetti, Carolina & Giorgetti, Maria Letizia, 2019. "Understanding the gender wage-gap differential between the public and private sectors in Italy: A quantile approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 240-261.
    13. Deleidi, Matteo & Mazzucato, Mariana, 2021. "Directed innovation policies and the supermultiplier: An empirical assessment of mission-oriented policies in the US economy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(2).
    14. Jérôme De Henau & Susan Himmelweit, 2021. "A Care-Led Recovery From Covid-19: Investing in High-Quality Care to Stimulate And Rebalance The Economy," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1-2), pages 453-469, April.
    15. Valerie A. Ramey & Sarah Zubairy, 2018. "Government Spending Multipliers in Good Times and in Bad: Evidence from US Historical Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(2), pages 850-901.
    16. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
    17. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 205-230, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ernst, Ekkehard & Merola, Rossana & Reljic, Jelena, 2024. "Fiscal policy instruments for inclusive labour markets: A review," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1406, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Francesca Carta, 2019. "Female labour supply in Italy: the role of parental leave and child care policies," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 539, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2023. "Scientific Background to the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2023," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2023-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
    4. Libertad González Luna & Lidia Farré, 2017. "The effects of paternity leave on fertility and labor market outcomes," Economics Working Papers 1572, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    5. Reyer Gerlagh & Veronica Lupi & Marzio Galeotti, 2023. "Fertility and climate change," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 125(1), pages 208-252, January.
    6. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Seidlitz, Arnim, 2024. "Changing Fertility and Heterogeneous Motherhood Effects: Revisiting the Effects of a Parental Benefits Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 16966, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Jan‐luca Hennig & Balazs Stadler, 2023. "Firm‐specific pay premiums and the gender wage gap in Europe," Post-Print hal-04171877, HAL.
    8. Barigozzi, Francesca & Cremer, Helmuth & Roeder, Kerstin, 2020. "Having it all, for all: Child-care subsidies and income distribution reconciled," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 188-211.
    9. Ann P. Bartel & Maya Rossin-Slater & Christopher J. Ruhm & Meredith Slopen & Jane Waldfogel, 2021. "The Impact of Paid Family Leave on Employers: Evidence from New York," NBER Working Papers 28672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Iris Delgado & Baltica Cabieses & Mauricio Apablaza & Carla Castillo & Ximena Aguilera & Isabel Matute & Manuel Najera & Juan M Pericàs & Joan Benach, 2019. "Evaluation of the effectiveness and equity of the maternity protection reform in Chile from 2000 to 2015," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(9), pages 1-16, September.
    11. Karademir, Sencer & Laliberté, Jean-William & Staubli, Stefan, 2023. "The Multigenerational Impact of Children and Childcare Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 15894, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Boneva, Teodora & Golin, Marta & Kaufmann, Katja Maria & Rauh, Christopher, 2022. "Beliefs about Maternal Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 15788, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Branko Bošković & Harriet Churchill & Oriola Hamzallari, 2021. "Family Policy and Child Well-Being: The Case of Montenegro in the European Perspective," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(17), pages 1-13, August.
    14. Monica Costa Dias & Robert Joyce & Francesca Parodi, 2019. "The gender pay gap in the UK: children and experience in work," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 594, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    15. Simon Rabaté & Externe auteur: Sara Rellstab, 2021. "The Child Penalty in the Netherlands and its Determinants," CPB Discussion Paper 424, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    16. Grigoli, Francesco & Koczan, Zsoka & Topalova, Petia, 2020. "Automation and labor force participation in advanced economies: Macro and micro evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    17. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Özcan, Berkay & Philipp, Julia, 2021. "Robots and the gender pay gap in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    18. Lalive, Rafael, 2021. "Mothers at Work: How Mandating Paid Maternity Leave Affects Employment, Earnings and Fertility," CEPR Discussion Papers 16418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Chuard, Caroline, 2020. "Womb at work: The missing impact of maternal employment on newborn health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    20. Gørtz, Mette & Sander, Sarah & Sevilla, Almudena, 2023. "Does the Child Penalty Strike Twice, and If So Why?," IZA Discussion Papers 16557, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social infrastructure; Gender inequality; Fiscal Policy; Panel SVAR; Italian regions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp246. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Luisa Giuriato (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dprosit.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.