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Supplementary labour agreements and business culture

A study by Istat and the Tarantelli Center dissects the empirical evidence on one of Italy’s main collective bargaining instruments.

Part of good business is positive environments and good relations between people. Clear rules, agreed upon by all parties, are the basis on which a productive organisation can properly construct its growth. To this end, supplementary labour agreements can be instrumental. Which is why it is useful to read “La contrattazione integrativa aziendale sviluppa la produttività oppure si limita a distribuirne i benefici? Evidenze empiriche sulle imprese italiane” (“Do supplementary labour agreements foster productivity or merely redistribute its benefits? Empirical evidence from Italian companies”), an exhaustive study co-authored by Laura Bisio (Istat), Stefania Cardinaleschi (Istat) and Riccardo Leoni (University of Bergamo and Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca Ezio Tarantelli).

The team’s research has been condensed into a paper analysing the impact of supplementary labour agreements on a company’s productivity, with the goal of assessing whether collective bargaining processes in Italy actually help stimulate productivity or merely serve to split up profits where they exist. The methodology focused on two main research goals: understanding a company’s likelihood of adopting a supplementary labour agreement, and estimating the agreement’s impact on the company’s productivity.

The study includes a massive section on statistical evidence, which yields some important conclusions. A company’s likelihood of adopting a supplementary labour agreement, for example, is influenced by the ratio between its share capital and total debt, but also by certain variables relating to the unionisation of its employees. The data also suggests that family-run businesses are less likely than other corporate entities to stipulate supplementary labour agreements, and also less likely to include employee representatives in the organisational-managerial process.

All in all, the study by Bisio, Cardinaleschi and Leoni sheds light on an important yet often misunderstood topic. Their in-depth look at Italian supplementary labour agreements, founded on solid analytical and statistical evidence, gives us a clearer view of this important corporate policy instrument, which can also help create a different kind of business culture, one that better represents the men and women working in offices and factories.

La contrattazione integrativa aziendale sviluppa la produttività oppure si limita a distribuirne i benefici? Evidenze empiriche sulle imprese italiane

Laura Bisio (Istat) Stefania Cardinaleschi (Istat) Riccardo Leoni (Università di Bergamo e Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca ‘Ezio Tarantelli’)

Paper Istat, 2019