DP13545 | Wage Equalization and Regional Misallocation: Evidence from Italian and German Provinces

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



Italy and Germany have similar geographical differences in productivity – North more productive than South in Italy; West more productive than East in Germany – but have adopted different models of wage bargaining. Italy sets wages based on nationwide contracts that allow for limited local wage adjustments, while Germany has moved toward a more flexible system that allows for local bargaining. The Italian system has significant costs in terms of forgone aggregate earnings and employment because it generates a spatial equilibrium where workers queue for jobs in the South and remain unemployed while waiting. Our findings are relevant for other European countries.