Academic activity

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Notwithstanding the admission to the Italian bar and a strong background in international and labor law, I am now devoting my life to the academic activity and to the Law & Economics agenda.  Building upon my past legal experience as a judicial clerk and attorney, alongside the lessons learned working side by side international organizations such as the ILO and UNESCO, I am now focusing my attention on the economic analysis of judicial institutions.

The fulcrum of my research question is to give answers to the functioning of a very ancient French labor institution, called Conseil de prud’hommes. This is the French employment jurisdiction, in charge of dealing with individual labor disputes. The main particularity of this court is that judges are appointed among unionist, pertaining to both sides of social partners (employers and employees) at the same time.

The economic literature is quite critical on the role of the most confrontational trade unions among this institution, and their capacity to be independent and equidistant has been disputed. According to my findings, much of their resistance to social dialogue is rooted in a not particularly well-known agricultural crisis happened in the 19th century, when trade unions were emerging. Surprisingly, one of the trigger factors of the typical adversarial methods of these syndicates lies in a super tiny insect, of the size of a pencil point. So far, comments from the academia were quite enthusiastic and the idea of a parasite triggering confrontation among unions fascinates people. In fact, according to historical evidence, much of the adversarial attitude of French unions and the typical class struggle mechanisms originates back to this crisis and this tiny but devastating insect.

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You can find a version of the paper on phylloxera published here, explaining the relationship between the vine parasite and the attitude of nowadays labor judges, at the following link:

Do litigants settle when they face non-reformist judges? Evidence from French labor courts

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A second paper on the role of attorneys and judges over judicial delay is available here:

Attorneys and adversarial judges: chronic procrastinators?

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A third paper analyzing the recent reform of labor courts, made by the French President in pectore Emmanuel Macron, is available here:

On the right track? Some first remarks on the structural reform of French labor courts







All papers are protected under the Italian and European copyright law. All copyright infringements will be pursued according to the law.

© Umberto Nizza, All rights reserved.