by Giuseppe A. Micheli, Alessandro Rosina
Italy is among the OECD countries with both the highest ratios of older persons per worker and
the lowest female participation rates. As the Mediterranean health-care system is based on the crucial
support provided by the fifty year-old women in the family, the two processes are strictly intertwined.
In this paper, the compatibility between the growth of female employment rate and the increase
in the demand for the care of old people is analysed. The number of middle-aged women will diminish
considerably in the next few decades, whereas the non-autonomous old population will grow
exponentially. Some foreseeable scenarios are discussed using both macro-demographic sources and
data from a recent Istat Survey. The empirical evidence emphasizes that adult women find themselves
caught in between the requirements of the labor market on the one hand and family tasks on the
other. Policy implications are finally discussed.
by Carluccio Bianchi, Mario Menegatti
This paper examines the relationship between inequality and growth in the Italian regions in the
period 1990-2004. Our results support the conjecture, formulated by the most recent economic theory,
that greater inequality in the distribution of personal incomes reduces real growth. Furthermore, a
detailed examination of the possible influence mechanisms of inequality on growth shows that both
the credit rationing and the social instability channel are relevant in explaining the empirical evidence
considered. Our analysis ultimately suggests that a decrease in income inequality in the Southern
regions, achieved through adequate redistributive policies in the area, might contribute to reducing
the lag in the economic development of the Mezzogiorno.
by Laura Castellucci, Alessio D'Amato
According to the EU water framework directive 2000/60, water tariffs should be based on the
full cost recovery principle, including scarcity and external effects. To disregard these two aspects is
not only conceptually misleading, as we try to show, but also leads to a wrong, distorted tariff. Our
attempt to measure such distortion with respect to the italian case shows, for example, that water tariffs
should be up to three times higher than the actual ones. That is to say, a significant correction
in water prices is needed to achieve efficiency.
by Luca Gattini
Recent studies analyse the dynamic of administered prices. However, the concept of administered
prices is not clearly defined in economic literature, and a common approach is missing. This
paper gives a brief description of the reasons for administered prices. Moreover, it focuses on the
difference between administered and regulated prices. Two relevant and unsolved cases are analysed:
telecommunication network industries and the rental market. A particular emphasis is addressed to
the regulatory frameworks within these sectors. It is investigated whether they do affect price behaviours.
In conclusion, the paper provides guidelines to identify the impact of the regulatory framework
on consumer price indices.
by Marcella Scrimitore
In this paper we present a model of spatial competition that highlights firms’ customization strategies
in an imperfect competitive environment. The nature of competition in markets with products
designed according to consumer preferences is discussed both in a framework of exogenous and endogenous
set-up costs. Set-up costs are considered endogenous when technology is such that reductions
in variable customization costs are feasible at additional set-up costs. It is shown that when
set-up costs are exogenous, strategic interaction induces firms to choose the most efficient customization
technology, though the latter entails a reduction in prices and profits and a more concentrated
market structure. When set-up costs are endogenous, the incentive to choose strategically a more efficient
customization technology depends on the possibility to cheaply transfer the customization
costs into the set-up costs. This explains why customization is more frequently observed for information
goods and in digital markets.