IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/ereveh/v23y2019i3p329-364..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Pioneering into the past: Regional literacy developments in Italy before Italy

Author

Listed:
  • Carlo Ciccarelli
  • Jacob Weisdorf

Abstract

Blindfolded by a lack of earlier systematic data, comparative studies of regional developments in historical Italy begin with the formation of the Italian state, in 1861. We use literacy rates reported in post-1861 population censuses combined with the fact that literacy skills were usually achieved during youth to predict regional literacy developments all the way back to 1821. Our analysis informs ongoing debates about the origins and long-run evolution of Italy’s north–south divide. By lifting the veil into Italy’s pre-unification past, we establish that the north–south literacy gap was substantial already in 1821, grew markedly wider in the first half of the nineteenth century, only to revert back in 1911 to the 1821 level. Gender gaps in literacy essentially close in the north during 1821–1911, while in the south they registered a secular stagnation. This opens an avenue for investigating a new dimension of the north–south gap largely overlooked in the existing literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Ciccarelli & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Pioneering into the past: Regional literacy developments in Italy before Italy," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 329-364.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:23:y:2019:i:3:p:329-364.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ereh/hey014
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
    2. Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Passive modernization? The new human development index and its components in Italy's regions (1871–2007)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 44-66.
    3. Zamagni, Vera, 1997. "The Economic History of Italy 1860-1990," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292890.
    4. Giovanni Federico & Antonio Tena-Junguito, 2014. "The ripples of the industrial revolution: exports, economic growth, and regional integration in Italy in the early nineteenth century," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 349-369.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano Fenoaltea, 2013. "Through the magnifying glass: provincial aspects of industrial growth in post-Unification Italy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(1), pages 57-85, February.
    8. E. G. West, 1978. "Literacy and the Industrial Revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 31(3), pages 369-383, August.
    9. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "One size that didn’t fit all? Electoral franchise, fiscal capacity and the rise of mass schooling across Italy’s provinces, 1870–1911," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 10(3), pages 311-343, September.
    10. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "Escaping from a human capital trap? Italy's regions and the move to centralized primary schooling, 1861–1936," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-65.
    11. Baten, Joerg & Ma, Debin & Morgan, Stephen & Wang, Qing, 2010. "Evolution of living standards and human capital in China in the 18-20th centuries: Evidences from real wages, age-heaping, and anthropometrics," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 347-359, July.
    12. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bartscher, Alina & Seitz, Sebastian & Siegloch, Sebastian & Slotwinski, Michaela & Wehrhöfer, Nils, 2020. "Social capital and the spread of Covid-19: Insights from European countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 14866, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Cheongyeon Won, 2021. "Jesus Speaks Korean: Christianity and Literacy in Colonial Korea," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 7-32.
    3. Chiaruttini, Maria Stella, 2020. "Banking integration and (under)development: A quantitative reassessment of the Italian financial divide (1814-74)," IBF Paper Series 03-20, IBF – Institut für Bank- und Finanzgeschichte / Institute for Banking and Financial History, Frankfurt am Main.
    4. Marchingiglio, Riccardo, 2021. "Local institutions and public school spending under restricted suffrage: The case of post-unitary Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1351-1373.
    5. 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.
    6. Giulio Cainelli & Carlo Ciccarelli & Roberto Ganau, 2021. "Administrative reforms, urban hierarchy, and local population growth. Lessons from Italian unification," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2109, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Feb 2021.
    7. Gabriele Cappelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2021. "A “Silent Revolution”: school reforms and Italy’s educational gender gap in the Liberal Age (1861–1921)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 203-229, January.
    8. David Chilosi & Carlo Ciccarelli, 2021. "Southern and Northern Italy in the Great Divergence: New Perspectives from the Occupational Structure," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 47, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Carlo Ciccarelli & Alberto Dalmazzo & Daniela Vuri, 2018. "Home Sweet Home: the Effect of Sugar Protectionism on Emigration in Italy, 1876-1913," CEIS Research Paper 437, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 Jun 2018.
    10. 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.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. Marchingiglio, Riccardo, 2021. "Local institutions and public school spending under restricted suffrage: The case of post-unitary Italy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1351-1373.
    3. 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).
    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. de Oliveira, Guilherme & Guerriero, Carmine, 2018. "Extractive states: The case of the Italian unification," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 142-159.
    6. Paola Azar & Sergio Espuelas, 2021. "Democracy and primary education spending in Spain, 1902-22," UB Economics Working Papers 2021/409, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB School of Economics.
    7. Monica Bozzano & Gabriele Cappelli, 2019. "The legacy of history or the outcome of reforms? Primary education and literacy in Liberal Italy (1871-1911)," Department of Economics University of Siena 801, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    8. 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.
    9. Montalbo, Adrien, 2021. "Schools without a law: Primary education in France from the Revolution to the Guizot Law," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    10. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "One size that didn’t fit all? Electoral franchise, fiscal capacity and the rise of mass schooling across Italy’s provinces, 1870–1911," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 10(3), pages 311-343, September.
    11. Emanuele Felice, 2015. "La stima e l’interpretazione dei divari regionali nel lungo periodo: i risultati principali e alcune tracce di ricerca," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(3), pages 91-120.
    12. Carlo Ciccarelli & Alberto Dalmazzo & Daniela Vuri, 2018. "Home Sweet Home: the Effect of Sugar Protectionism on Emigration in Italy, 1876-1913," CEIS Research Paper 437, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 Jun 2018.
    13. 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.
    14. Ralph Hippe & Maciej Jakubowski & Luisa De Sousa Lobo Borges de Araujo, 2018. "Regional inequalities in PISA: the case of Italy and Spain," JRC Working Papers JRC109057, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    15. Carlo Ciccarelli & Tommaso Proietti, 2013. "Patterns of industrial specialisation in post-Unification Italy," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(3), pages 259-286, November.
    16. Gabriele Cappelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2021. "A “Silent Revolution”: school reforms and Italy’s educational gender gap in the Liberal Age (1861–1921)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 203-229, January.
    17. Bertocchi, Graziella & Bozzano, Monica, 2016. "Women, medieval commerce, and the education gender gap," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 496-521.
    18. Ciccarelli, Carlo & De Fraja, Gianni & Vuri, Daniela, 2021. "Effects of passive smoking on prenatal and infant development: Lessons from the past," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C).
    19. Paola Azar Dufrechou, 2018. "Electoral politics and the diffusion of primary schooling: evidence from Uruguay, 1914-1954," Working Papers wpdea1801, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    20. Giulio Cainelli & Carlo Ciccarelli & Roberto Ganau, 2021. "Administrative reforms, urban hierarchy, and local population growth. Lessons from Italian unification," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2109, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Feb 2021.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:23:y:2019:i:3:p:329-364.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.