Giorgio Piccitto

Upgrading or Polarization? Occupational Change in Italy, 1992-2015

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This paper refers the debate on the occupational change, based on the contraposition between the theories of upgrading and polarization of the labor market, to Italy. The Italian labor market is characterized by some peculiar features that make it an interesting (and underrated) case study. Hence, the goal is analysing the employment change trajectories in Italy from 1992 to 2015, taking into particular account gender and territorial area of the worker (two dimensions of internal inequalities). Furthermore, I distinguish a pre-crisis from a post-crisis period, so to pick the effects of the Great Recession on the dynamics under analysis. In order to consider the multidimensionality of the concept of job quality I adopt a «multi-indicator» approach, defining the quality of each job by means of five different indicators. Results show that the economic crisis has interrupted the process of occupational upgrading, fostering the occupation also in unqualified sectors of the demand and shaping the labor market into the «hourglass» structure theorized by the polarization trend. The analysis, dissect-ed by gender and territorial area, allows further reflections about the drivers of the occupational change in the temporal span under analysis.


  • Job Quality
  • Labor Market
  • Occupational Change
  • Occupational Structure
  • Economic Crisis


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