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Growth and sectoral dynamics in the Italian regions


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  • R. Paci


  • F. Pigliaru



Regional differentials in per capita income and labour productivity in Italy is one of the most notable cases of regional inequality and have attracted attention from economists from all over the world since the 1950s. In this paper we first aim at yielding a comprehensive description of the pattern of regional inequality in Italy on the basis of a new dataset on the main regional variables for the period 1951-94. We use descriptive statistics and panel regression analysis, in order to allow direct comparisons with the impressive evidence available on a large number of national cases. Second, we offer our contribution to the debate about the sources of the persistence of a high degree of regional inequality in Italy. We concentrate on sectoral dynamics in order to assess how much of the initially high potential for convergence due to the dualistic structure of the poorer regions has been exploited, by which regions, under what regional policy regimes. Our analysis remarks that a limited convergence process has occurred over the years 1951-75; afterward the degree of inequality between Northern and Southern regions has increased again. Moreover, the regional distribution of per capita income presents a bimodal polarisation with a rich convergence club which includes most of northern regions, and a poor club made of a small group of non-adriatic southern regions. In the sectoral analysis we find that dual mechanisms play a role in aggregate convergence as long as the outflows of labour from the low productivity agriculture of the poorer regions are a source of expansion of these regions’ industrial sector. Once this migration from agriculture to industry ends in some of these regions, the impact of dualistic mechanisms on convergence weakens significantly. Industrialisation, or its failure, still appears to be the key to understand why some of the lagging regions converge and others do not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia in its series Working Paper CRENoS with number 199803.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:199803

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Cited by:
  1. Juan Brida & Nicolás Garrido & Francesco Mureddu, 2014. "Italian economic dualism and convergence clubs at regional level," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 439-456, January.
  2. R. Naylor, 2001. "Industry profits and market size under bilateral oligopoly," Working Paper CRENoS 200108, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  3. Juan David Barón & Gerson Javier Pérez & Peter Rowland, 2004. "A Regional Economic Policy For Colombia," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA 001931, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  4. Alessandra Faggian & Bianca Biagi, 2003. "Measuring Regional Multipliers: a Comparison between two Different Methodologies for the case of the italian Regions," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2003(1).
  5. Francesco Pigliaru, 2009. "The Economic Lag of the Mezzogiorno: A Steady State?," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, August.
  6. Gerson Javier Pérez V. & Peter Rowland, . "Regional Economic Policies: Four Country Cases," Borradores de Economia 301, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  7. LR. Keller & E. Strazzera, 2000. "Examining predictive models among discounting models," Working Paper CRENoS 200005, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  8. Attilio Gardini & Giuseppe Cavaliere & Luca Fanelli, 2006. "Risk sharing, avversione al rischio e stabilizzazione delle economie regionali in Italia," Quaderni di Dipartimento, Department of Statistics, University of Bologna 0, Department of Statistics, University of Bologna.
  9. M. Musumeci, 2000. "Innovazione tecnologica e beni culturali. Uno studio sulla situazione della Sicilia," Working Paper CRENoS 200008, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  10. C. Antonelli & R. Marchionatti & S. Usai, 2000. "Productivity and External Knowledge: The Italian Case," Working Paper CRENoS 200009, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  11. Matteo Lanzafame, 2005. "Economic Structure, Technology Diffusion and Convergence: The Case of the Italian Regions," Studies in Economics, Department of Economics, University of Kent 0507, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  12. Cuadrado-Roura, Juan R. & Mancha Navarro, Tomas & Garrido Yserte, Ruben, 1999. "Real versus virtual growth: An Analysis of regional Dynamics," ERSA conference papers ersa99pa195, European Regional Science Association.
  13. R. Carcangiu & G. Sistu & S. Usai, 1999. "Struttura socio-economica dei comuni della Sardegna. Suggerimenti da un’analisi cluster," Working Paper CRENoS 199903, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  14. Luigi Cannari (editor), 2009. "The Mezzogiorno and regional policies," Workshop and Conferences, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area 2, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  15. R. Naylor, 2001. "Firm profits and the number of firms under unionised oligopoly," Working Paper CRENoS 200109, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.


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