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Crowding out the change: business networks and persisting economic elites in the South of Italy over Unification (1840–1880)

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Carmela Schisani

    (Department of Economics and Statistics, Federico II University of Naples, Via Cintia, 26, Naples, Italy)

  • Luigi Balletta

    (Department of Economics, Management and Institutions, Federico II University of Naples, Via Cintia, 26, Naples, Italy)

  • Giancarlo Ragozini

    (Department of Political Sciences, Federico II University of Naples, Via Rodinò, 22, Naples, Italy)

Abstract

In this article, we study the effect of the Unification on the network power of economic elites in the South of Italy. We study the persistence of economic elites as evidence of the stability of the institutional set up beyond the effect of Unification, and thus as a primary explaining factor of the persistence of social forces slowing and opposing modernization. We use original archival data on the universe of Naples enterprises to build the networks of business relations between individual economic actors for the 20-year period immediately before and after Unification. The persistence of network power and its determinants is tested via a difference-in-difference model. The main finding is that economic elites persist over Unification. The long-term business relations, rooted in the Bourbon period, the persisting lobbying power of the financial industry, the close collusive ties with potential foreign competitors and the closeness to politics after 1861 are all elements that explain how the Southern economic elites were able to crowd-out the change.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Carmela Schisani & Luigi Balletta & Giancarlo Ragozini, 2021. "Crowding out the change: business networks and persisting economic elites in the South of Italy over Unification (1840–1880)," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 15(1), pages 89-131, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:15:y:2021:i:1:p:89-131
    DOI: 10.1007/s11698-020-00204-3
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic elites; Social network analysis; Italian Unification; Economic history of the South of Italy in the nineteenth century;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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