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Research In Social Sciences
Established in 1893 and published by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, it has for a long time been involved in the field of social sciences and in particular economics. Through the publication of different scientific works by Italian and foreign authors, it aims to provide readers with an extensive insight into all the different areas of economics, as well as scientific debates taking place in Italy and abroad.

Submitted manuscripts are peer-reviewed

ISSN carta: 0035-676X
ISSN digitale: 1827-7918

In this issue


by Maurizio Baussola pages: 2 Download
by Lorenzo Cappellari, Claudio Lucifora pages: 5 Download


Convergence of Italy’s Tradable Sector Growth Rate and Wage Stagnation
by Fedele De Novellis pages: 20 € 6.00
In the last five years the Italian manufacturing sector has reduced the growth gap vis-à-vis the euro area, in the face of a continuing growth differential in the service sector. The improvement of cost ompetitiveness is among the factors that led to this recovery in the manufacturing sector. However, as long as competitiveness gains mainly depend on the slowdown in wages rather than on increases in productivity extended to all sectors of the economy, the process cannot be considered virtuous. It entails not only beneficial effects on exports, but also unfavourable consequences on real wages and household incomes and, therefore, on domestic demand.
The ‘‘Big 5’’ Personality Traits and Union Membership: An Empirical Analysis
by Claudio Lucifora, Caterina Sturaro pages: 19 € 6.00
We study how individuals with different personality traits exhibit different personal propensity to unionise. While traditional models of trade union membership state that workers are rational decision makers and highlight benefits and costs of union membership, a growing literature investigates the effect of other factors on individuals’ decisions. The ‘‘Exit-Voice’’ framework allows us to discuss whether individuals’ decision to unionise depends on values and beliefs. We consider a sample of individuals and workers from Lombardy. We find that higher conscientious and agreeable individuals show higher personal propensity to unionise; conversely, high neurotics and high open individuals have lower propensity. Finally, we show that differences in personal propensity to unionize between individuals with high and low levels of openness and extraversion are largely mediated by individual observable characteristics, while differences in agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism cannot be explained by observable factors.
Sorting, Social Comparison and Women’s Job Satisfaction
by Margherita Agnoletto, Lorenzo Cappellari, Astrid Gamba pages: 16 € 6.00
Using linked employer-employee data for the UK we address competing explanations for gender gaps in job satisfaction. Previous studies have rationalized the puzzling greater satisfaction of women either by pointing out gender differences in competitive attitudes, or through differences in sorting across jobs and industries. Our data allow us to test both explanations within a unified framework. The  employer-employee structure of the data enables us to control for workplace unobserved heterogeneity that drives sorting. Moreover, we exploit information on workplace average wages to investigate workers’ attitudes through the framework of social comparison within the firm. We show that while social comparison matters empirically, gender differences in social comparison are not enough to account for job satisfaction gaps. Instead, controlling for workplace heterogeneity resolves the puzzle, lending support to the sorting hypothesis.
EU Funding for Gender Equality: The Need for a Gender Responsive Budget
by Manuela Samek Lodovici pages: 17 € 6.00
The paper discusses how gender mainstreaming is applied in the EU funding allocations for 2014-2020, with focus on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the main EU funding programmes. The analysis shows that notwithstanding EU commitment to gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting is not systematically applied in the EU multiannual budget and in the analysed programmes. Gender equality is declared as a horizontal objective in almost all EU programmes, but often not translated into concrete goals, actions and earmarked funding, with the EU budget showing a weak and piecemeal commitment to gender equality. Some important tools, like Gender Impact Assessment and Gender Budgeting, are still rarely adopted by the EU or national institutions. In order to be effective, the EU’s political and legal commitment to gender mainstreaming has to be supported with earmarked funding and allocations in the EU budgetary and spending decisions.
Heterogeneous Returns to Education in Italy
by Eliana Baici, Paolo Ghinetti pages: 19 € 6.00
The estimation of the return from an additional education unit is subject to the ‘‘ability bias’’, responsible for the ‘‘endogeneity’’ of education to wages, and the ‘‘return bias’’, induced by self-selection into education levels based on individual-specific unobservable gains. We use a control functions estimator that, differently to standard instrumental variables, can account for both selection mechanisms. It adds two corrections terms to the wage equation, one for each selectivity source. We use Bank of Italy data for Italian men in the 25-60 age interval. Identification uses a major reform that in 1962 increased years of compulsory schooling, implemented through a set of cohort dummies as exclusion restrictions. We find no evidence of absolute unobservable wage advantages for the more educated. Still, they are positively self-selected: they study more because their marginal return to education is higher than the average, due to specific unobservable gains from additional schooling.
On the Private and Social Benefits of Economic Literacy
by Giulio Piccirilli pages: 20 € 6.00
Carlo Dell’Aringa was highly respected both as a professor of economics and as an expert involved in the policy debate and in direct policy decisions. Inspired by these traits of his figure, we focus on the link between economic knowledge and policy. In particular, by means of a theoretical model and a simple empirical analysis, we argue that the conduct of fiscal policy is more tuned on social welfare in countries where citizens have a better understanding of economics and financial concepts.
Wage Regulation and Performance-Related Pay in Italian Public Sector
by Cesare Vignocchi pages: 19 € 6.00
Attempts to reform the Italian civil service in the last 30 years have been mainly done mimicking private sector practices. The results have been quite disappointing. Useful hints can be obtained from a principal-agent model, with regard to the difficulty of measuring output and – even more – outcome. More convincing is an alternative collusive equilibrium model, which clarifies the distance between private and public employers. Useful indications for the future can be drawn from these failures.