The papers published in this issue of the Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali have been selected
from those contributions presented at the workshop on ‘‘Employment opportunities and unemployment
over the economic downturn’’ held on 18th May 2012 at the Universita` Cattolica del
Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy. The papers presented in this issue analyse this topic using both
macro- and micro-econometric approaches and other empirical techniques which may help suggest
useful policy interventions.
In this paper we propose a new macro-micro econometric framework which incorporates both aggregate
labour demand and supply, and the labour market flows which determine the steady-state
unemployment rate. Thus, we can simulate either demand or supply shocks and therefore assess
their impacts on labour demand and supply, and also on unemployment and labour market flows.
This enables us to pinpoint the dynamic effects of such shocks.
This paper studies labour market transitions out of temporary jobs in Italy, focussing on the period
that immediately follows the last 2003 labour market reform, and immediately preceding the
economic downturn of the second half of 2007. The data-set used is the 2004-2007 IT-SILC individual
panel. We apply a discrete-time duration analysis and estimate a competing-risk model for
assessing to what extent, and for whom, starting a temporary job after 2004 results within a twoyear
span in a stepping stone to permanent employment rather than a dead end. We find that temporary
contracts have a positive impact only on the transition of men to permanent employment.
School leavers, workers in the South, as well as women, are instead penalized after a temporary
job. For women longer spells of temporary employment are not matched by a higher probability
of finding a permanent contract.
This paper estimates the impact of several institutions and policies on youth and total unemployment
rates for a large set of developed countries during the last three decades. The estimation
technique used is a fixed effect panel analysis. Our empirical analysis shows that, in addition to
economic growth, economic freedom, labour market reforms, a high share of part time employment,
and active labour market policies reduce unemployment and improve labour market performance.
Considering the poor condition of young people relative to older people, our results permit
us to select, among the policies and reforms that reduce overall unemployment, the policies that
have a comparatively high effect on youth unemployment.
This paper assesses the matching efficiency of the Portuguese public employment service, applying Data Envelopment Analysis combined with principal component analysis to Portuguese administrative data and comparing the situations in June 1998 and June 2001. We find evidence that the Portuguese public employment service increased its efficiency potential from 0.54 (June 1998) to 0.65 (June 2001), becoming more efficient and more homogeneous. However, employment-centres differ in efficiency and factors affecting efficiency diverge among employment-centres. Policies aimed at improving the efficiency of the matching process should be employment-centre specific. Indeed, we find that some employment-centres could benefit from investing in labour market policies, some from investing in social policies, and others from investing in income support policies. Finally, some employment-centres could benefit from a mix of these socio-economic policies.
One of the most important debates in today’s economic policy is between Neo-Liberals supporters
of free market and Neo-Keynesians supporting the fundamental relevance of public action. In this
paper the James M. Buchanan’s role among the masters of neo-liberal politics is underlined. In
his approach, market and political process founded on the exchange are considered good in themselves,
and at the basis of the rationality of choice not only for the individual behaviour but also
for public choices is set the individual, in a contractarian-constitutionalist perspective. Particularly
Buchanan’s contributions in the economics of politics, and his role in the debate about justice are
analysed and discussed here.