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Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-Run Perspective

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  • Giovanni Federico

    ()
    (European University Institute, Florence and Università di Pisa)

  • Nikolaus Wolf

    ()
    (Humboldt University Berlin and CEPR)

Abstract

The history of Italy since her unification in 1861 reflects the two-way relationship between foreign trade and economic development. Its growth was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the country's integration with European and global commodity markets: foreign trade in the long run grew on average faster than the overall economy. Behind the dynamics of aggregate trade, Italy's comparative advantage changed fundamentally over the last 150 years. The composition of trade, in terms of both commodities imported and exported and in terms of trading partners, developed from a high concentration of a few trading partners and a handful of rather simple commodities into a wide diversification of trading partners and more sophisticated commodities. In this chapter we use a new long-term database on Italian foreign trade at a high level of disaggregation to document and analyze these changes. We will conclude with an assessment of Italy's prospects from a historical perspective.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) with number 09.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_09

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Keywords: international trade; 19th-20th century; Italy;

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References

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  1. Alcala, Francisco & Ciccone, Antonio, 2001. "Trade and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  10. Zaghini, Andrea, 2003. "Trade advantages and specialisation dynamics in acceding countries," Working Paper Series, European Central Bank 0249, European Central Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicholas Crafts & Marco Magnani, 2011. "The Golden Age and the Second Globalization in Italy," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers), Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area 17, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Brian A'Hearn & Tony Venables, 2011. "Internal Geography and External Trade: regional disparities in Italy, 1861-2011," Economics Series Working Papers 578, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Barbara Pistoresi, 2013. "Italy's current account sustainability:a long run perspective, 1861-2000," Center for Economic Research (RECent), University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics 092, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  4. Claire Giordano & Ferdinando Giugliano, 2012. "A Tale of Two Fascisms: Labour Productivity Growth and Competition Policy in Italy, 1911-1951," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers), Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area 28, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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