Doctoral thesis

Three essays in labor economics

  • 2024

PhD: Università della Svizzera italiana

English This thesis investigates the impact of increased vulnerability to economic shocks in today’s globalized world, focusing in particular on their labor market effects in the ideal research setting provided by Switzerland. The first chapter develops a novel SIRDC model that accounts for age-specific behavioral responses, documenting that the Swiss lockdown in spring 2020 prevented more than 11,200 deaths, including those due to the shortage of healthcare resources. Despite their disruptive labor market effects, non-pharmaceutical interventions played therefore a key role in reducing the number of fatalities, avoiding far larger economic and social costs. The second chapter studies the impact of opening the labor market to immigrant workers who hold fully equivalent diplomas as native citizens and share their mother tongue. It shows that the recognition of EU qualifications in Switzerland since 2002 led to a large inflow of young Italian workers in Ticino. This led to a wage gain and a decrease in the likelihood of inactivity for experienced incumbent employees, while the opposite effect was borne by young native workers entering the labor market after the reform. The third chapter examines the relationship between trade shocks and immigrant workers’ employment, leveraging the unexpected Swiss Franc appreciation in January 2015. This shock had a negative impact on workers’ labor market outcomes and led to a far larger increase in the share of cross-border workers in sectors with higher trade exposure. This implied a further deterioration of young resident workers’ outcomes in Swiss border regions.
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