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Where do we go from here? Market access and regional development in Italy (1871–1911)

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  • Anna Missiaia

Abstract

Italy has been characterized, throughout its unitary history, by large regional differentials in income, level of industrialization, and development. This article aims at testing the New Economic Geography hypothesis on the role of market access in explaining these regional differentials. We first quantify the market potentials of the Italian regions. We then use these estimates to study the causal link between GDP per capita and market potential. The main result of this article is that only domestic market potential, which represents the home market, shows a "traditional" North–South divide. When international markets are introduced, the South does not appear to lag behind. Regression analysis confirms that market potential is a strong determinant of GDP per capita only in its domestic formulation. This suggests that the home market in this period mattered far more for growth than the international markets, casting new light on one of the classical explanations to the North–South divide.

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  • Anna Missiaia, 2016. "Where do we go from here? Market access and regional development in Italy (1871–1911)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 215-241.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:20:y:2016:i:2:p:215-241.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ereh/hew003
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    1. Emanuele Felice, 2017. "The Roots of a Dual Equilibrium: GDP, Productivity and Structural Change in the Italian Regions in the Long-run (1871-2011)," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 40, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Gabriele Cappelli & Emanuele Felice & Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Daniel Tirado, 2018. "Still a long way to go: decomposing income inequality across Italy’s regions, 1871 – 2011," Working Papers 0123, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Anna Missiaia, 2019. "Market versus endowment: explaining early industrial location in Italy (1871–1911)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 13(1), pages 127-161, January.
    4. Domini, Giacomo, 2016. "Patents, exhibitions and markets for innovation in the early twentieth century: Evidence from Turin 1911 International Exhibition," MERIT Working Papers 2016-061, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Emanuele Felice, 2017. "The socio-institutional divide. Explaining Italy's regional inequality over the long run," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 503, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    6. 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, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 89-131, January.
    7. Giacomo Domini, 2019. "Exhibitions, patents, and innovation in the early twentieth century: evidence from the Turin 1911 International Exhibition," LEM Papers Series 2019/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    8. Maria Carmela Schisani & Luigi Balletta & Giancarlo Ragozini, 0. "Crowding out the change: business networks and persisting economic elites in the South of Italy over Unification (1840–1880)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 0, pages 1-43.

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