Dropping the Books and Working Off the Books

36 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2009

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 16, 2009


The paper empirically tests the relationship between underground labour and schooling achievement for Italy, a country ranking badly in both respects when compared to other high-income economies, with a marked duality between North and South. In order to identify underground workers, we exploit the information on individuals' social security positions available from the Bank of Italy's Survey on Household Income and Wealth. After controlling for a wide range of socio-demographic and economic variables and addressing potential endogeneity and selection issues, we show that a low level of education sizeably and significantly increases the probability of working underground. Switching from completing compulsory school to graduating at college more than halves this probability for both men and women. The gain is slightly higher for individuals completing the compulsory track with respect to those having no formal education at all. The different probabilities found for self-employed and dependent workers support the view of a dual informal sector, in which necessity and desirability coexist.

Keywords: irregular employment, underground economy, dual informal sector, occupational choice, education, school drop-out, North and South divide

JEL Classification: I21, J24, O17, R23

Suggested Citation

Cappariello, Rita and Zizza, Roberta, Dropping the Books and Working Off the Books (January 16, 2009). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 702. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1357282 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1357282

Rita Cappariello

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Roberta Zizza (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
00184 Roma

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