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  • Author: Paul Brenton, Anna Maria Pinna
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: As in other industrialised countries, the manufacturing sector in Italy has recently experienced a substantial increase in the use of skilled relative to unskilled workers — skill upgrading. In this paper we estimate a model, based upon the notion of outsourcing, of the relative demand for skilled labour which allows identification of the roles of technological change and trade, the two main culprits, in skill upgrading. Compared to previous studies of Italy the model is applied to highly disaggregated industrial data and in addition the impact of trade is more precisely measured through the separate identification of import flows from low-wage labour abundant countries and those from OECD partners. Furthermore we also introduce a measure of trade variability. Our results show firstly that economic variables played little or no role in determining the relative demand for unskilled workers in the 1970s in Italy, reflecting the nature of Italian labour market institutions in the period. Subsequently, in the 1980s and 1990s, following some labour market reforms, we find that international competition, in terms of import penetration and the variability of trade prices, had a significant effect on the relative demand for blue-collar workers in Italy in skilled intensive sectors. In unskilled intensive sectors, such as textiles and clothing, where the impact of imports from low-wage countries might be expected to be more pronounced, we do not find a significant effect from imports but rather that the most important role has been played by technological change. The result is consistent with previous studies that indicate that Italian textile and clothing firms have remained internationally competitive by increasingly switching to high quality segments of the industry.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Nuria Diez Guardia
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report analyses the European consumer credit markets and their regulation at European level. Its findings are as follows: European consumer credit markets are characterised by deep national differences and strong market segmentation. The report finds no generalised model of consumer credit from the analysis of statistical data. An Anglo-Saxon consumer credit model cannot be identified. The weight of consumer credit is far higher in the US economy than in the EU countries, including the UK. In the US, the share of consumer loans made by banks is much lower, securitisation of consumer credit assets is very developed and the share of revolving credit is much greater than in the EU countries. Nor is it possible, on account of the large differences in the use of consumer credit observed across EU countries, to identify a European model of consumer credit. Consumer credit is very widely used in Sweden, whereas it is underdeveloped in Greece and Italy. The use of consumer credit reaches comparatively high levels in Germany and the UK and an intermediate level in France and Spain. Lending to consumers is carried out through bank intermediation, crossborder provision is non-existent.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Italy