Page Contents


2017 006/E
Publication date
20 March 2017
7 April 2017


Corporate profit developments are strongly inter-linked with a number of macroeconomic phenomena including investment, employment, wages and productivity and ultimately economic growth. These inter-linkages may be affected by a range of factors at firm (e.g., size, ownership, export orientation, financial structure, investment in innovation), sector (e.g., market concentration, regulatory framework, entry barriers) and country‑level (e.g., economic cycle, development in input prices and labour costs, corporate tax regime). The functioning of the banking sector and the financial sector more in general, in particular with reference to its capacity to efficiently allocate funds to profitable firms, is also relevant.

Corporate profits in Italy have been declining due to the crisis but with wide differences across firms. Understanding the drivers of corporate profits and how these affect investment and employment decision is crucial to formulate the appropriate policy recommendations. 

The project should cover as a minimum (potential candidates might have additional suggestions):

1) Review the theoretical and empirical literature on the drivers of corporate profits, in Italy and in other countries. The objective is to identify the key hypotheses to be analysed empirically in subsequent sections.

2) Analyse, in a cross-country comparative perspective, various indicators for profit developments at macroeconomic level and their drivers (productivity developments, prices, costs, financial markets). Assess the predictive power of the main drivers, also distinguishing by economic sector, firms’ size classes and other relevant macro characteristics.

3) Perform econometric analysis on Italy’s firm-level data to check for evidence on the main drivers of profits, taking into account firm, sector and macro-level factors (including changes in policy setting), and assess how profits are related to the prospects of the firm, and its investment and employment decisions. Both cross-section and time dimensions should be considered. This part is expected to be the core of the project.

4) Summarise the above analyses and draw policy conclusions.

The study should focus on non-financial corporations. Considering the availability of data, it should include SMEs to the maximum extent and cover from 1990 to the most recent data, Different definitions of profits and implications thereof should be considered.

The duration of the project is set at approximately 10 months. The budget foreseen is in the range of 30 000 – 40 000 EUR.

DG ECFIN intends to invite potential candidates and send them the tender specifications with full details in April 2017. If you would like to be considered for this contract and to be included in the invitation list, please send your contact details to the following e-mail addresses: by Friday 7 April 2017 at the latest, clearly mentioning in the subject line of your e-mail: "Call ECFIN 2017 006/E".

The aforementioned mailbox is reserved solely for requests to be included in the invitation list. Such requests sent to other mailboxes or to Commission staff cannot be accepted. No other communication should be addressed to this mailbox.

For any other information, please contact Mr Dino Pinelli, e-mail Candidates are however reminded that at this stage no further details on the tender specifications can be communicated.

This invitation/notice is in no way binding on the European Commission. The Commission's contractual obligation commences only upon signature of the contract with the successful candidate. Up to the point of signature, DG ECFIN may either abandon the procurement or cancel the award procedure, without the candidates being entitled to claim any compensation. Candidates will be notified.