2011 volume 43(11) pages 2761 – 2777

Cite as:
Iammarino S, Marinelli E, 2011, "Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? Graduate mobility and job satisfaction in Italy" Environment and Planning A 43(11) 2761 – 2777

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Is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? Graduate mobility and job satisfaction in Italy

Simona Iammarino, Elisabetta Marinelli

Received 4 March 2011; in revised form 8 June 2011

Abstract. This paper explores the links between spatial mobility and job-related well-being for young Italian graduates. Theoretically it posits that mobility and job satisfaction can be related indirectly, as migration may provide access to new or better job opportunities, and directly, as mobility generates expectations on the outcome of the move. Methodologically it applies sample-selection ordered logit to a survey of graduates conducted by the Italian National Statistical Institute (ISTAT). The paper investigates how personal characteristics and employment features, together with migration behaviour, impact on several domains of job satisfaction, comparing the graduates from Southern regions—ie, the backward Mezzogiorno—to those of the Centre – North of Italy. Our most novel results indicate that, whilst indirect effects are qualitatively similar for both Southern and Centre – Northern graduates, direct effects are not. This highlights that geography affects satisfaction by shaping individual expectations, adding another dimension to the long-standing debate on Italian spatial inequality.

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