Gender employment disparities, financialization and profitability dynamics on the eve of Italy's post-2008 crisis
This study explores aggregate profitability in Italy from 1994 to 2008 in its connection with structural change and gender employment disparities. Using decomposition analysis, the study finds that aggregate profit rate declined, but the profit share did not. Male variables – such as earnings, output, employment, and working hours – tended to have more weight than female ones in explaining aggregate outcomes. Structural change also played a major role, as the economy specialized in sectors with falling real wages and wage shares, especially the financial sector and construction. Further falls in the wage share and widening wage gaps may not guarantee a rise in profitability. This result entails that “neomercantilist” approaches to solve the crisis might only prepare the next crisis, while a coordinated expansion of demand could be more successful. Moreover, gender issues should not be neglected in terms of favoring women’s employment and entrepreneurship.