Globalization and labor markets

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The purpose of the course in 'Labour Markets and Globalization" is to provide, from a socio-economic perspective, an overview of the major changes that are taking place in the contemporary capitalism, adopting globalization as a process of unifying the labour market in different national contexts.
In the light of the relevant literature and contraposition between theories, the aim is also that students acquire knowledge and understanding of some crucial issues.
Firstly, we consider the growing role of the service sectors in the economy, the process of outsourcing with all its implications and dilemmas for work and employment and the notion of Global Value Chain. Secondly, we analyse the role of the transnational companies and their strategies in developed and developing countries. Thirdly, we explore the role of digital technologies and platforms in regulating labour markets and the effects of IT in creation or destruction of jobs. The migration processes are also considered as a global aspect of labour market transformation.
Expected learning outcomes
From the knowledge perspective, at the end of the course the student must have acquired disciplinary skills linked to the interpretative theories of globalization from the point of view of socio-economic sciences. In terms of skills, it is expected that the student will be able to develop critical competences on the ambiguous theme of the processes of globalization of work, of its contradictory effects on inequalities in the labor market. Furthermore, we expect the student become familiar with the inter-disciplinary connections, especially with labour economics, labour law, social policies and welfare states. The course will develop skills on the main supranational sources of data on companies and employment (Labour Force Surveys) and on the major Annual Reports of non-governmental organizations such as ILO, EC, OECD, EUROFOUND, CEDEFOP etc.
The course stimulates also a quite good critical ability, deriving from the recall during the lessons of the interpretative aspects more than merely descriptive, the policy implications, the open problems, though a discussion in class and the continuous search for pertinent examples. Finally we encourage communication skills, through the presentation (individually or in small groups) of short reports in class (in PP) on limited assigned topics, articles or case studies; a fairly good synthesis ability, favoured during the lesson by a continuous recall of the salient points of the treated topics.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
Course syllabus
From a socio-economic perspective, the course privileges globalization as a process unifying the national labour markets. The course is divided into 3 parts.
The first part (Macro level) aims at providing the basic tools for socio-economic understanding of globalizazion, starting from some definitions and considering the mainstream economic approach and some relevant critics
The basic literature on global economy will be reviewed looking at topics such as the international division of labour, the role of the key institutions and the consequences on labour markets, employment, qualifications and professions. What are the effects of globalization on inequality, on social safety nets, on production and innovation? How does it affect the relationship between developed countries and developing countries?
Labour markets changes and reforms will be also examined
The second part (Meso level) focuses on globalization, modularization of production and services, giving special attention to the role of the multinational companies (MNCs) and explaining the theory/perspective of the global value chain (GVC)
Production and export capabilities are dispersed to an unprecedent number of developing as well as developed countries
Companies networks
The third part (Micro level) complets the previous parts, looking more in depth some critical topics, such as labour market inequalities (gender, income, age, occupation-employment relationships, education, national origin) migrations-workers mobility, low-wage work, new independent workers (freelancers, Independent-Professionals, solo-selfemployment), precarious work and non-standard employment (temporary workers)
Prerequisites for admission
Students must have already acquired basic knowledge of economic and labor sociology
Teaching methods
The teaching approach is based on: a) cross-country comparisons, b) national case studies, c) critical discussion on the emerging challenges, social dilemmas, policy implications and future perspectives. During the course, articles and papers will be assigned to be studied in depth and presented in the classroom in rotation, in order to also encourage a critical and collective discussion
Teaching Resources
-Gereffi G. (2010) The Global Economy: Organization, Governance, and Development in Smelser-Swedberg (edited by) Handbook of Economic Sociology; Princeton University Press
-Berger S. (2005) How we compete: what companies around the world are doing to make it in today's global economy, NY, Doubleday;
-Socio-Economic Review (2009) Discussion Forum on Susan Berger "How we compete: What Companies Around the World are Doing to Make it in Today's Global Economy, NY Doubleday, Streeck, Thelen, Zeitlin et al.
-Semenza R., Pichault F. (eds) (2019), The Challenges of Self-Employment in Europe. Status, Social Protection and Collective Representation; London: Edward Elgar
Assessment methods and Criteria
Verification of learning will take place in written form with open questions; and will be based on the ability to organize knowledge discursively; capacity for critical reasoning on the study carried out; competence in the use of specialist vocabulary and ability to make bibliographic references. The final test will be evaluated with a mark expressed in thirtieths. If necessary for the pandemic situation, the exam will be held remotely in oral form, on the Teams platform.
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Semenza Renata
Educational website(s)
Wednesday h. 2:00-5:00 pm
Room 15