Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
There is a growing interest in the academic and policy making communities in understanding the effects of sectoral specialisation on labour market performance. The existing empirical evidence, mainly based on US data, generally finds a positive correlation between sectoral specialisation and labour market indicators such as wages and unemployment. The policy implication one can draw from these results is that fostering sectoral diversification may reduce unemployment. However, this lesson may not hold for all countries. In particular, in the case of Europe, the diversity of labour market institutions may play a distinct role in shaping the relationship between sectoral specialisation and labour market performance.In this paper, we investigate the relationship between regional sectoral specialisation and regional unemployment rate in the context of different collective bargaining institutions in the EU countries. We find that collective bargaining institutions do play a role in shaping the unemployment rate differentials across regions belonging to the same country. Furthermore, the relationship between regional specialisation and the regional unemployment rate is stronger in countries with intermediate and decentralised collective bargaining institutions in comparison to countries with centralised collective bargaining institutions.Our results suggest that labour market institutions are likely to influence the outcome of policies aiming at fostering regional diversification. While such policies may result in reducing regional unemployment in countries with decentralised and intermediate levels of collective bargaining, they may not make a big difference in countries with centralised collective bargaining institutions.
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