Italy’s decline and the balance-of-payments constraint: a multicountry analysis
According to the literature, the decline experienced by the Italian economy in the last two decades depends on a slowdown of its labour productivity, starting in the 1990s. The supply-side explanations of this slowdown are inconsistent with the major stylised facts. In this paper, we verify whether a better explanation is provided by the effect of a negative demand shock, through Italy’s external constraints, in the framework of Kaldor-Dixon-Thirlwall’s cumulative growth model. To this end, we use a multi-country generalisation of Thirlwall’s balance-of-payments-constrained growth model, which allows us to investigate the contribution of Italy’s main trade partners to Italy’s long-run growth from 1970 to 2010. The trade partners are disaggregated into seven groups: Eurozone core, Eurozone periphery, United States, other European countries, OPEC countries, BRIC, and the rest of the world. The results show that Italy’s long-run growth has been consistent with the Bop-constraint, that its decline can be explained by a progressive tightening of this constraint, that the sudden slowdown of labour productivity in the 1990s corresponds to a major shock on Italy’s external constraint, and that the major contributions to this shock came, through different channels of transmission, from the core Eurozone countries and from OPEC countries.
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Volume (Year): 30 (2016)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
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