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The evolution of the occupational structure in Italy in the last decade

Gaetano Basso ()

No 478, Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) from Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area

Abstract: Many advanced economies have experienced significant job polarization in the last decades, with an increase in the employment share and relative wage of both low-wage and high-wage workers at the expense of middle-wage workers. This polarization has probably been spurred by the substitution of routine-intensive labour with automation and information and communication technologies. This note explores whether the Italian labour market has experienced similar patterns and, if so, whether they are the consequence of a pure technology-driven shock. The evidence is mixed. While the share of low-wage manual occupations has increased markedly, that of high-wage professional occupations has fallen slightly. The share of middle-wage jobs has declined significantly but, unlike the case of the US, the wages have not. Regression analyses based on occupational task characteristics (Goos et al., 2014) do not fully align with the routine-biased technical change hypothesis either, consistently with the limited adoption of automation technology in Italy. Among the most likely factors, cross-sector reallocation, which favoured the low value added service sector, and the rise of low skilled migrant and college graduate labour supply explain most of the observed occupational changes.

Keywords: labour demand; occupational choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J23 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-lma
Date: 2019-01
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