In Memory of Marco Biagi

Marco Biagi, (1950-2002)

I learned a lot from Marco Biagi in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, I knew him as someone who still occasionally visited the student circle at the church from where (in his younger days) he had travelled on missions to Africa.

His faith guided his life. And I think his faith told him to use his knowledge of economics to develop and advocate public policy that improves the conditions in which the world's poor live and work.

Paradoxically, his compassion for others made him a target for attack.

Marco Biagi believed that more and better job opportunities would be available to young Italians, if firms could hire them on more flexible employment contracts.

He may have come to that conclusion while teaching students from the United States and other parts of the world where employment relationships were more flexible than they were in Italy.

Or he may have come to that conclusion because he voraciously read foreign newspapers.

Or he may have come to that conclusion because it was a view shared by many people at the time.

Regardless of how he came to that conclusion that labor market flexibility would provide more and better job opportunities for young Italians, it should be noted that his goal was to create more and better job opportunities for young Italians.

In hindsight, I wish that my classmates and I had urged him to pay more attention to the macroeconomic determinants of the demand for labor.

In hindsight, it is now clear to me that firms hire workers to produce the goods and services that consumers demand. No amount of labor market flexibility will induce a firm to hire workers if there is no demand for the firm's product.

In hindsight, I believe that my professor made a mistake.

If he were still alive, we might have debated the issue over coffee.

But he's not alive, so I have created this webpage to remind policymakers that Marco Biagi wanted more and better job opportunities for young Italians.