Can the Horticultural District in South-East Sicily benefit from migrant workers to achieve an efficient internationalization pattern?
New Medit, vol 11, n.3, (September 2012), pp. 59-65
Jel classification: R23, Q18
Today in the EU, within which the labour factor is relatively scarce, policies of open goods markets are often linked to closed labour markets for foreign manpower. These policies do contrast with wellknown theoretical models of international commerce, as stated by Heckscher-Ohlin and Stolper-Samuelson (Leamer, 1995) demonstrating that labour mobility (migration) and goods mobility (free trade) are substitutes, that is to say international commerce and international labour mobility can generate the same economic effects in the involved countries and the increase of the first can reduce to zero the second one (Mundell, 1957). The Euro-Mediterranean strategy embraces this point of view, even though local policies (national and regional) continue to protect local labour market not considering that recent research works assure that foreign manpower doesn’t spoil local resident wages and actually contribute to local economies (Longhi, Nijkamp and Poot, 2005). Considering the gap between theoretical assumptions and real behaviors, the paper reports a field survey in the South-East Sicily Horticultural District, one of the major migration-attractive zones in southern Italy agriculture. The paper aims at giving some insights into the District benefit from immigrants’work-force in nternationalizing its patterns. Fifteen key informants have been selected and interviewed performing faceto-face interviews for a total of 20 hours during the year 2011. The research allows us to affirm that the local communities and local governments substantially use migrants’ manpower to lower production costs, actually profiting of illegal conditions to control the local market. As a matter of fact they prefer free trade for their products and control for foreign migration. The answer at the question whether the South-East Sicily Horticultural District could benefit from foreign labour to internationalize its pattern is substantially negative.
migration, local market, agricultural labour