Pathways to Inclusive Labour Markets (PILLARS)

Session organisers:
  • Maria Savona (SPRU Sussex, UK and DEF-Luiss, Italy)
  • Tommaso Ciarli (UNU MERIT, The Netherlands and SPRU Sussex, UK)
  • Simone Vannuccini  (SPRU Sussex, UK)

PILLARS is a H2020 Project that offers a three-pillars (historical, forecasting and policy evaluation) framework to analyse labour markets in EU regions. This includes a comprehensive and empirically solid account of the combined effect of (i) past waves of automation technologies, (ii) recent trends of international fragmentation of production in Global Value Chains (GVCs) and (iii) industrial transformation of European regions on EU labour markets, in terms of employment reconfiguration, skill mismatch and migration. The main contribution of the project is to move beyond existing analyses of the impact of automation (or proxies for it) on employment in Europe and the US (Autor and Salomons 2018; Autor and Dorn 2013; Goos, Manning, and Salomons 2014) in several ways. The project considers industry exposure to several waves of automation technologies; the composition of employment in addition to the level and growth (Ciarli et al. 2018); the alternative work arrangements and self-employment (Ciarli, Di Ubaldo, and Savona 2020). In addition, we move beyond existing analysis of the impact of trade on employment (Autor, Dorn, and Hanson 2015; Autor, Dorn, and Hanson 2013) by specifically focusing on the international division of labour within and across GVCs, i.e. the functional specialisation by industry (e.g., Timmer, Miroudot, and de Vries 2019), along the lines started by Bontadini et al. (2019). The project will also fill the gap in the geography literature on how industrial transformations affect labour market outcomes, skills and wages. We will investigate labour market impacts beyond employment and wages, by assessing impacts on labour mobility and migration. The project fits squarely with the need to feed evidence to achieve the policy objectives of Next Generation EU. The aim of this proposed Special Session is to contribute to the debate on the topics above within the large and interesting Geo Inno community. We therefore propose a Special Session that gathers the first set of deliverables of the project, that focus on the technological exposure of sectors to AI; the effects of skill mismatch on local labour markets; the effect of migration policies on the German labour market; a comparative look at the US labour market.


Autor, D H, and D Dorn. 2013. “The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market.” American Economic Review 103 (5): 1553–97.

Autor, D H, D Dorn, and G H Hanson. 2013. “The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States.” American Economic Review 103 (6): 2121–68.

Autor, D H, and A Salomons. 2018. “Is Automation Labor-Displacing? Productivity Growth, Employment, and the Labor Share.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2018 (spring).

Bontadini, F, R Evangelista, V Meliciani, and M Savona. 2019. “Integration in Global Value Chains and Employment in Europe.” SPRU Working Paper Series (SWPS), 2019-16: 1-39.

Ciarli, T, M Di Ubaldo, and M Savona. 2020. “Innovation and Self-Employment.” In The Handbook of Labour, Human Resources and Population Economics, edited by Zimmermann, K F. Elsevier.

Ciarli T, A Marzucchi, E Salgado, and M Savona. 2018. “The Effect of R&D Growth on Employment and Self-Employment in Local Labour Markets.” SPRU Working Paper Series 2018–08.

Timmer, Marcel P, Sébastien Miroudot, and Gaaitzen J de Vries. 2019. “Functional Specialisation in Trade.” Journal of Economic Geography 19 (1): 1–30.


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