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Regional convergence in Italy, 1891–2001: testing human and social capital

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  • Emanuele Felice

    (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona, Spain)

Abstract

The article aims to present and discuss estimates of levels of human and social capital in Italy’s regions over the long term, i.e., roughly from the second half of the nineteenth century up to the present day. The results are linked to newly available evidence for regional value added in order to begin to form an explanatory hypothesis of long-term regional inequality in Italy: convergence in value added per capita is tested in light of the neoclassical exogenous growth approach, which incorporates human capital and social capital as conditioning variables into a long-term production function. In contrast with conventional wisdom (e.g. Putnam 1993), we find that social capital was not a significant predictor of economic growth in post-Unification Italy: It grew in importance only in the last decades. Conversely, human capital was more important in the first half of the twentieth century. Results suggest that there was not one single conditioning variable over the long run, thus supporting the view that, in different periods, conditioning variables can be determined by technological regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Emanuele Felice, 2012. "Regional convergence in Italy, 1891–2001: testing human and social capital," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(3), pages 267-306, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:6:y:2012:i:3:p:267-306
    DOI: 10.1007/s11698-011-0076-1
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Italy; Regions; Convergence; Human capital; Social capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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