The race between the snail and the tortoise: skill premium and early industrialization in Italy (1861–1913)

Giovanni Federico, Alessandro Nuvolari, Leonardo Ridolfi, Michelangelo Vasta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we estimate series of the skill premium for Italy during the early stages of the industrialization with a refined version of the regression approach originally introduced by Clark (J Polit Econ 113(6):1307–1340, 2005). We compute series for the whole country as well as separate series for macro-regions and for construction and manufacturing, and, within manufacturing, we estimate high and low skill premia for blue collars. We interpret the results with an extended version of the classic Katz and Autor (in: Ashenfelter, Card (eds) Handbook of labor economics, Elsevier, Dordrecht, pp 1463–1555, 1999) framework. The overall premium remained stable until the 1890s and then declined for the joint effect of migrations (almost exclusively of unskilled workers) and the rise in literacy, which was not compensated by the modest increase in industrial employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCliometrica
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Human capital
  • Inequality
  • Labour markets
  • Skill premium
  • Technological progress
  • Wages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics

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