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The location of the Italian manufacturing industry, 1871–1911: a sectoral analysis


  • Roberto Basile
  • Carlo Ciccarelli


This study focuses on industrial location in Italy during the period 1871–1911, when manufacturing moved from artisanal to factory-based production processes. There is general agreement in the historical and economic literature that factor endowment and domestic market potential represented the main drivers of industrial location. We test the relative importance of the above drivers of location for the various manufacturing sectors using data at the provincial level. Estimation results reveal that the location of capital intensive sectors (such as chemicals, cotton, metalmaking and paper) was driven by domestic market potential and literacy. Once market potential and literacy are accounted for, the evidence on the effect of water endowment on industrial location is mixed, depending on the manufacturing sector considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Basile & Carlo Ciccarelli, 2018. "The location of the Italian manufacturing industry, 1871–1911: a sectoral analysis," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 627-661.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:3:p:627-661.

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Roberto Antonietti & Chiara Burlina, 2019. "From variety to economic complexity: empirical evidence from Italian regions," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1930, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Oct 2019.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    More about this item


    Market potential; factor endowment; concentration; Italy;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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