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National disparities and cyclical dynamics in Italy (1892-2007): was the Mezzogiorno a sheltered economy?


  • Rosaria Rita Canale
  • Oreste Napolitano


The paper presents the evolution of national disparities in Italy in a cyclical perspective, comparing GDP per capita growth rates in the Centre-North and South from 1892 to 2007. The aim is to evaluate the pro-cyclical pattern of macro-area divergences and to measure, with a non-parametric analysis, the degree of the Southern regions (Mezzogiorno) dependence on the whole country. A performance indicator for national growth is used to determine whether the South can be defined as a sheltered economy. Our results show that peripheral regions as a whole had different degrees of dynamism during the period considered and that the South can be defined as unequivocally sheltered only when national policies switched from industrialization and investments into simple transfers. In other periods, including recent times, national disparities do not show pro-cyclical patterns, supporting the conclusion that the Mezzogiorno has been exposed to market conditions and its economy has not always been dependent on external factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosaria Rita Canale & Oreste Napolitano, 2015. "National disparities and cyclical dynamics in Italy (1892-2007): was the Mezzogiorno a sheltered economy?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 328-348, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:29:y:2015:i:3:p:328-348
    DOI: 10.1080/02692171.2014.983054

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