Dante Di Matteo Raffaele La Regina Ilaria Mariotti Elena Militello

Which Determinants for South Working? A New Development Proposal for the South, Inner Areas and the Country

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Ever since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a stark confrontation in Italy, between a part full of people and another one of empty areas, with the extreme frailty of the former and the advantages that could arise out of the latter. The need to reduce potential contagion risks led to the enforcement of «physical distancing» policies all over the world. Consequently, this triggered a demand for a renewed conception of possible ways of working. Many workers, often highly skilled professionals, were asked to work remotely for significant periods of time (remote working). While the number of workers who seized this shift to remote working to move from big cities to less inhabited areas has been empirically investigated in the United States, in Italy the corresponding phenomenon is still being researched. The focus is both on the workers who left the largest cities, firstly Milan, to move to suburban and peripheral areas («near working»), and on the so-called South Working, the moving of remote workers to Southern and inner areas of the country while working for employers based in the big cities of the North or even abroad. Within this wider scenario, in March 2020, a bottom-up cultural movement emerged, named «South Working – Lavorare dal Sud A.P.S.». Its aim is to fill the existing divides between the different areas of Italy, stimulating and studying the phenomenon of periods of remote working conducted from coworking spaces defined as «community hubs». The purpose of this article is to measure the propensity to work from the South before and after the pandemic, using an econometric analysis. Specifically, the propensity of workers from Palermo who are employed outside of the region to work remotely from the South, modelled on the basis of socio-economic covariates. The results may widen the debate on the possibility to design new policies to implement and improve South Working conditions.


  • South Working
  • Near Working
  • Inner Areas
  • Remote Working
  • Smart Working
  • Return to the South


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