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Labour market flexibility and innovation: geographical and technological determinants

Luca Pieroni (Department of Economics, Finance and Statistics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy)
Fabrizio Pompei (Department of Economics, Finance and Statistics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 13 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to shed light upon the controversial relationship between labour market flexibility and innovation in Italy, paying attention both to inter‐sectoral heterogeneity and to the regional differences.

Design/methodology/approach

A set of hypotheses concerning the context‐dependent relationship between labour market flexibility and innovation has been formulated by combining the main results of the theoretical literature concerning this topic. Regional patents are used as a proxy of innovation, while job turnover and wages represent labour market indicators of flexibility. Non‐parametric models and dynamic structural specification of panel data have been estimated to test the aforementioned hypotheses.

Findings

The results show that higher job turnover has a significant and negative impact on patent activities in regional sectors of northern Italy, while a positive and significant effect of blue and white collar wages has been generally found in the estimations.

Research limitations/implications

There is a lack of updated information regarding labour market data in the Italian economy.

Practical implications

Knowing in which sectoral and regional context labour flexibility has (or does not have) a positive influence on innovation plays a key role for the decisions of policy makers.

Originality/value

This paper deals with the influence that the heterogeneity of the contexts (at the sectoral and geographical level) exerts on the relationship between the labour market and innovation. Moreover, the endogenous character of this relationship and the cumulative nature of innovative activities have been taken into account by means of a parsimonious dynamic econometric model.

Keywords

Citation

Pieroni, L. and Pompei, F. (2008), "Labour market flexibility and innovation: geographical and technological determinants", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 216-238. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437720810878897

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited