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State intervention and economic growth in Southern Italy: the rise and fall of the ‘Cassa per il Mezzogiorno’ (1950–1986)

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  • Emanuele Felice
  • Amedeo Lepore

Abstract

In the second half of the twentieth century, the Italian government carried out a massive regional policy in southern Italy, through the State-owned agency ‘Cassa per il Mezzogiorno’ (1950–1986). The article reconstructs the activities of this agency, making use of its yearly reports and of national and local archives. The Cassa was effective in the first two decades, thanks to substantial technical autonomy and, in the 1960s, to a strong focus on industrial development; however, from the 1970s it progressively became an instrument of waste and misallocation. At the local level, we find significant differences between the southern regions, and correspondence between the quality of state intervention and the regional patterns of GDP and productivity.

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  • Emanuele Felice & Amedeo Lepore, 2017. "State intervention and economic growth in Southern Italy: the rise and fall of the ‘Cassa per il Mezzogiorno’ (1950–1986)," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(3), pages 319-341, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:59:y:2017:i:3:p:319-341
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2016.1174214
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    9. Joseba de la Torre & Mario García-Zúñiga, 2013. "El impacto a largo plazo de la política industrial del desarrollismo español," Investigaciones de Historia Económica - Economic History Research (IHE-EHR), Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociación Española de Historia Económica, vol. 9(01), pages 43-53.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vanessa Santos Sánchez & Gabriele Ruiu & Lucia Pozzi & Marco Breschi & Giovanna Gonano, 2020. "Geographical variations in mortality and unemployment in Italy," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - The Italian Journal of Economic, Demographic and Statistical Studies, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 74(2), pages 109-120, April-Jun.
    2. Paolo Di Martino & Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2017. "The curious case of the coexistence of two “access-orders”: Explaining the Italian regional divide," Department of Economics University of Siena 758, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    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. Sieds, 2020. "Complete Volume LXXIV n. 1 2020," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - The Italian Journal of Economic, Demographic and Statistical Studies, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 74(2), pages 1-123, April-Jun.
    5. Papagni, Erasmo & Lepore, Amedeo & Felice, Emanuele & Baraldi, Anna Laura & Alfano, Maria Rosaria, 2021. "Public investment and growth: Lessons learned from 60-years experience in Southern Italy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 376-393.
    6. Basco, Rodrigo & Stough, Roger & Suwala, Lech, 2021. "Family Business and Regional Development," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 232284.
    7. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido DeBlasio & Lorenzo Incoronato, 2021. "Hooked on a subsidy: transfers and preferences for State intervention," Discussion Paper series in Regional Science & Economic Geography 2021-02, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Social Sciences, revised Feb 2021.
    8. Erasmo Papagni & Amedeo Lepore & Emanuele Felice & Anna Laura Baraldi & Maria Rosaria Alfano, 2018. "Public Investment and Growth Accelerations: The Case of Southern Italy, 1951-1995," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 2018/10, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    9. Emanuele Felice, 2017. "The socio-institutional divide. Explaining Italy's regional inequality over the long run," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 503, Collegio Carlo Alberto.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N84 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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