The Rise and Fall of R&D Networks

Drawing on a large database of publicly announced R&D alliances, we empirically investigate the evolution of R&D networks and the process of alliance formation in several manufacturing sectors over a 24-year period (1986–2009). Our goal is to empirically evaluate the temporal and sectoral robustness of a large set of network indicators, thus providing a more complete description of R&D networks with respect to the existing literature. We find that most network properties are not only invariant across sectors, but also independent of the scale of aggregation at which they are observed, and we highlight the presence of core-periphery architectures in explaining some properties emphasized in previous empirical studies (e.g. asymmetric degree distributions and small worlds). In addition, we show that many properties of R&D networks are characterized by a rise-and-fall dynamics with a peak in the mid-nineties. We find that such dynamics is driven by mechanisms of accumulative advantage, structural homophily, and multiconnectivity. In particular, the change from the “rise” to the “fall” phase is associated to a structural break in the importance of multiconnectivity.

The Dynamics of Profit and Wages: Technology, Offshoring and Demand

Journal for a Progressive Economy, October 2016
This article explores the impact of innovation, offshoring and demand on profits and wage dynamics. The growing relevance of functional distribution in terms of explaining personal distribution underscores the importance of our results for under standing recent increases in inequality. The empirical analysis performed herein involves a panel of 38 manufacturing and service sectors over four time periods (1995 to 2010) across five European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom). Our identification strategy relies on instrumental variables and recently proposed heteroskedasticity-based instruments (Lewbel, 2012). Additionally, we perform sensitivity analysis to account for omitted variables bias, following the recent theoretical results of Oster (2015). The main results of our study can be summed up in three points. First, it highlights the contrasting effects of R&D and offshoring as wage determinants—the former exerts a positive effect while the latter exert a negative effect. Second, it shows that external demand is a key variable driving profits growth. Third, it provides evidence of noteworthy results stemming from the categorization of workers according to skill level, such as: high-skilled workers are favored by both innovation and offshoring, offshoring exerts downward pressure primarily on low-skilled wages (not on medium-skilled wages as predicted by SBTC) and profits are positively correlated with high-skill wages, negatively correlated with medium-skill wages and not correlated with low-skill wages.


Did Italy Need More Labour Flexibility? The Consequences of the Jobs Act

Intereconomics, Volume 51, March/April 2016, Number 2/pp. 79-86

The dramatic impact of the 2008 crisis on the Italian economy led to policy responses including structural reforms and labour market liberalisation to reverse the worrisome output and employment trends. A key action by the Italian government, the evocatively named Jobs Act of 2014, has deeply changed Italian industrial relations. The Jobs Act has introduced a new contract type that substantially limits workers’ rights to reinstatement in case of firms invalidly firing them. This article frames the Jobs Act within the overall liberalisation process begun in Italy in the 1990s, providing an initial evaluation of its impacts. Using detailed data sources, we show that the expected boost in employment cannot be detected, the share of temporary contracts over open-ended ones has increased and the number of part-time contracts has risen. This evidence suggests that the Jobs Act is failing to achieve its main goals.

Click here to download the article