Promoting Human Capital Shock As a Strategy for Economic Recover. a Comparison Between Two Italian Regional Policies

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW1.2.04 (Tower One)
Alberto Gherardini, UniversitÓ di Firenze, Firenze, Italy
Angela Lobascio, Iris Ricerche, Prato, Italy
This paper focuses on two Italian regional policies that aim at enhancing human-capital as a strategy for economic development. In the last 10 years, Sardegna Region and Puglia Region, two lagging Italian regions, invested massively their resources in order to increase the educational attainment of their graduates (i.e. PhD, second level of specialisation, etc.). Moreover, they provided funds for inclusion of highly skilled workers in the regional labour market. In their plans, these instruments should produce a human capital shock that will upgrade the regional economy.

Although the two regional polices share a common approach, they present many differences. The Sardegna Region promotes a program, namely Master & Back, providing for a scholarship for high level education to be attained outside the region and, meanwhile, an incentive for regional firms that would hire students after the end of the training phase. Contrarily, Puglia Region integrates postgraduate education scholarships with entrepreneurship programs, especially in cultural and creative industries.

Based on original survey data on Sardinian case and on secondary source information on the Apulian policy, the paper addresses two research questions. The first question regards the effectiveness of the policies in terms of recipients’ satisfaction. The second one concerns the impact of these instruments on labour market and, more in general, on the recovering of regional economies.

Results show that these policies reach a high degree of satisfaction between young people and, furthermore, that they extended significantly their skills. On the contrary, the impact on regional economy is uncertain. In particular, local labour market fails in absorbing the supply of highly skilled workers. So far, policy prompts the brain drain phenomenon as a side effect.

Even if the two regional policies are facing with the problem of mismatch of demand and supply in the labour market, the investment on entrepreneurship of Puglia Region seems to be much successful in creating among the new generations a climate of confidence in the future, as well as having a seminal effect in establishing new industries. By the way, the human capital shock has not yet displayed in both regions.