Alberto Mazzon - Has voucher favoured off the books employment? Evidence from Italy

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Jan Kabátek

j.kabatek@unimelb.edu.au

Melbourne Institute Brown Bag

Title: Has voucher favoured off the books employment? Evidence from Italy

Abstract: Also referred to as voucher work, Italian subsidiary employment is characterised by the use of vouchers as means of payment of the workers’ services. One of the main purposes of this instrument is to provide an alternative to off the books employment for occasional or seasonal activities that are often confined to the shadow economy. Since 2015, the spreading of vouchers in most sectors of the economy prompted critiques and warnings from economists and trade unionists fearing that subsidiary employment was becoming a threat to workers’ rights and job security. Despite having been the object of an intense public debate, evidence on voucher work is still scant. Using a database on vouchers used between 2010 and 2017, I exploit a recent policy change to calculate a difference-in-differences estimator to assess whether vouchers have slowed down the growth of off the books employment or they have favoured it, as some critics claim. Results suggest that a stricter control over voucher use caused a plunge in the number of hours contracted in subsidiary employment after October 2016.

Presenter: Alberto Mazzon, University of Siena

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