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The Well-Being of Italians: A Comparative Historical Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Andrea Brandolini

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Giovanni Vecchi

    () (Universit� degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata")

Abstract

The paper describes the evolution of the well-being of the Italians during the 150 years since the country's unification. The progress in material standard of living was substantial, with GDP per capita growing 13 times between 1861 and 2010 and hours of work (and hence effort) falling considerably, but was roughly in line with that experienced by most other European countries. By relying on a novel database on household budgets, the paper shows that economic growth was accompanied by a long-run reduction of inequality that appears however to have been reversed in the last two decades. Progress was not limited to the economic domain: educational attainment improved considerably, although less than in other countries; on the other hand, the increase in life expectancy was spectacular and brought Italians to lead the international ranking.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Brandolini & Giovanni Vecchi, 2011. "The Well-Being of Italians: A Comparative Historical Approach," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 19, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_19
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/quaderni-storia/2011-0019/QSEn_19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Italy and the World Economy: celebrating Italy’s 150th birthday with some data crunching
      by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-01-23 16:08:19
    2. Italy and the World Economy: celebrating Italy’s 150th birthday with some data crunching
      by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-01-23 16:08:19

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Salvatore Morelli & Timothy Smeeding & Jeffrey Thompson, 2014. "Post-1970 Trends in Within-Country Inequality and Poverty: Rich and Middle Income Countries," CSEF Working Papers 356, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    2. Felice, Emanuele & Vecchi, Giovanni, 2015. "Italy’s Modern Economic Growth, 1861–2011," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 225-248, June.
    3. Emanuele Felice & Josep Pujol Andreu & Carlo D'Ippoliti, 2016. "GDP and life expectancy in Italy and Spain over the long run: A time-series approach," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(28), pages 813-866, September.
    4. Magda Bianco & Giulio Napolitano, 2011. "The Italian Administrative System: Why a Source of Competitive Disadvantage?," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 24, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. repec:ces:ifodic:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:18948099 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Felice, Emanuele & Carreras, Albert, 2012. "When did modernization begin? Italy's industrial growth reconsidered in light of new value-added series, 1911–1951," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 443-460.
    7. Luca Nunziata, 2012. "In a Time of Crisis: Some Notes on the Italian Labour Market and Beyond," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 40-48, 08.
    8. 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.
    9. Emanuele Felice, 2012. "Neither dashboard nor 'mashup' indices: an empirical wealth approach as a pathway to a comprehensive measure of development," UHE Working papers 2012_01, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    10. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1450-y is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Emanuele Felice & Josep Pujol Andreu, 2013. "GDP and life expectancy in Italy and Spain over the long-run (1861-2008): insights from a time-series approach," UHE Working papers 2013_06, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Italian history; human progress; income inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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