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The Industrial Labor Force of Italy's Provinces: Estimates from the Population Censuses, 1871-1911


  • Carlo Ciccarelli
  • Anna Missiaia


This paper presents statistical reconstructions of the industrial laborforce in post-Unification Italy. The estimates are based on the populationcensuses taken in 1871, 1881, 1901, and 1911. The figures are presentedfor each of Italy's 69 provinces, separately by gender. Industry, as is customaryin the literature, is defined so to include four major components:mining, manufacturing, construction, and utilities. Manufacturing is inturn broken down into 12 sectors. Some of the limits of population censuses,including their questionable representation of the labor force in thetextile sector, are briefly summarized. The paper focuses then on possibleuses of the proposed labor force estimates. It is in particular shown that,despite their known limits, population censuses represent a useful historicalsource to obtain legitimate estimates of provincial value added for Italy'sindustry. The present contribution, that aims at stimulating the quantitativedebate on Italian industry and industrialization at the local level,ends by presenting tentative directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Ciccarelli & Anna Missiaia, 2013. "The Industrial Labor Force of Italy's Provinces: Estimates from the Population Censuses, 1871-1911," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 141-192.
  • Handle: RePEc:mul:jrkmxm:doi:10.1410/74193:y:2013:i:2:p:141-192

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Ciccarelli & Matteo Gomellini & Paolo Sestito, 2019. "Demography and Productivity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry: Yesterday and Today," CEIS Research Paper 457, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 May 2019.
    2. Anna Missiaia, 2019. "Market versus endowment: explaining early industrial location in Italy (1871–1911)," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 13(1), pages 127-161, January.
    3. Kerstin Enflo & Anna Missiaia, 2018. "Regional GDP estimates for Sweden, 1571–1850," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(2), pages 115-137, April.
    4. Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2017. "The geography of innovation in Italy, 1861–1913: evidence from patent data," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 326-356.
    5. Boltho, Andrea & Carlin, Wendy & Scaramozzino, Pasquale, 2018. "Why East Germany did not become a new Mezzogiorno," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 308-325.
    6. Mancini, Giulia, 2019. "The determinants of female labor supply in Italy, 1881-2018," MPRA Paper 102165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano Fachin, 2017. "Regional growth with spatial dependence: A case study on early Italian industrialization," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 675-695, November.
    8. Giovanni Federico & Alessandro Nuvolari & Leonardo Ridolfi & Michelangelo Vasta, 2021. "The race between the snail and the tortoise: skill premium and early industrialization in Italy (1861–1913)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 1-42, January.
    9. Nicola Pontarollo & Roberto Ricciuti, 2020. "Railways and manufacturing productivity in Italy after unification," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 775-800, September.
    10. Anna Missiaia, 2015. "The industrial geography of Italy: provinces, regions and border effects, 1871-1911," Working Papers 15012, Economic History Society.

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