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A Local-scale Analysis of Unemployment and Growth in an Economically-Divided Country

L. Salvati, M. Zitti


This study assesses the spatial relationship between economic expansion and unemployment in a divided European country, identifying the specific impact of regional economic structures and socio-spatial polarizations on local job markets' performances in 686 Travel to Work Areas in Italy. The relationship between changes in district value added and unemployment rate was relatively weak using both parametric and non-parametric (a-spatial) techniques, being more intense when space is incorporated in Geographical Weighted Regression (GWR) models. The elasticity of changes over time in district value added and unemployment rates was higher in economically-dynamic rural districts than elsewhere in Italy. Model performance increased in socioeconomic homogeneous areas of both northern and southern Italy. Negative and positive relationships between district value added and unemployment rate were more likely observed in northern and southern Italian districts, respectively. While providing an original framework in the analysis of diversified economic systems, spatial models outline the effect of socioeconomic disparities on local development in Italy better than traditional approaches. Local-scale data and spatial approaches provide a knowledge base to effective policies regulating local job markets on the base of their territorial specificity.


Local development, Unemployment, Economic district, Spatial analysis, Italy.

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