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Fifteen years of labour market regulations and policies in Italy: what have we learned from their evaluation?

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Progress Report
Ugo Trivellato

During the last fifteen years a notable number of labour market interventions took place in Italy, under two main headings: new regulations and implementation of active and/or passive programmes. The paper reviews a fair number of subjectively selected impact evaluation studies published in the last ten years. The framework is provided by counterfactual analysis; preliminary, its barebones are sum up. The focus of the review in on two aspects. First, a blend of empirical and analytical issues critical for credible impact evaluations are discussed. They emerge from the fact that the reviewed studies are carried out in an observational setting, and refer to prospective vs. retrospective evaluation, availability (or lack) of adequate data, over-identification tests in order to corroborate (or falsify) the identifying restriction on which the evaluation strategy rests, and heterogeneous effects. Second, the substantive evidence offered by the reviewed studies is summarized. It points to generally minor policy effects; some tentative explanations for that lack of effectiveness are suggested.

programme evaluation,
counterfactual analysis,
labour policies,
employment protection legislation
JEL classification: 
C14, C21, J68, L52
September, 2011