IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Tale of Two Fascisms: Labour Productivity Growth and Competition Policy in Italy, 1911-1951

  • Claire Giordano


    (Bank of Italy)

  • Ferdinando Giugliano


    (University of Oxford)

This paper offers the first quantitative assessment of labour productivity dynamics within Italy's industrial sector over the period 1911-1951 and of their links with competition policy. By relying on a newly compiled dataset and on fresh labour productivity estimates, we find that the earlier period of the Fascist era was characterised by a productivity boom, which ended and was reversed following the switch to a more interventionist industrial policy. In the overall period 1911-1951, new industries did not perform any better than the old ones and labour productivity growth was explained largely by internal productivity growth within industrial sectors rather than from the contribution of structural change from old to new industries. Finally, we find that reductions in the level of competition, induced by specific policies, were associated with lower productivity growth. This paper thus casts a shadow on the optimist accounts of Fascist industrial policy and confirms the findings of a revisionist literature minimising the positive role played by the State in the earlier stages of Italian industrialization.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) with number 28.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_28
Contact details of provider: Postal: Via Nazionale, 91 - 00184 Roma
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
  2. repec:bla:restud:v:44:y:1977:i:3:p:393-406 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Felice Emanuele, 2005. "Il valore aggiunto regionale. Una stima per il 1891 e per il 1911 e alcune elaborazioni di lungo periodo (1891-1971)," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 273-314.
  4. repec:bdi:workqs:qse_07 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Schulze, Max-Stephan, 2007. "Origins of catch-up failure: Comparative productivity growth in the Habsburg Empire, 1870 1910," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 189-218, August.
  6. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1997. "Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition," Munich Reprints in Economics 19772, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  8. Favilukis, Jack & Lin, Xiaoji, 2013. "Long run productivity risk and aggregate investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 737-751.
  9. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-46, August.
  10. Broadberry, S. N. & Crafts, N. F. R., 1992. "Britain's Productivity Gap in the 1930s: Some Neglected Factors," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(03), pages 531-558, September.
  11. Broadberry, S N & Crafts, N F R, 1990. "Explaining Anglo-American Productivity Differences in the Mid-Twentieth Century," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(4), pages 375-402, Special I.
  12. Stephen Broadberry & Claire Giordano & Francesco Zollino, 2011. "A Sectoral Analysis of Italy's Development, 1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 20, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  13. Broadberry, Stephen N & Crafts, Nicholas, 1990. "The Implications of British Macroeconomic Policy in the 1930s for Long Run Growth Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 386, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Federico, G. & O'Rourke, K.H., 1999. "Much Ado About Nothing? Italian Trade Policy in the late 19th Century," Papers 99/18, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  15. J. Boone & M. van Leuvensteijn, 2010. "Measuring competition using the Profit Elasticity: American Suger Industry, 1890 - 1914," Working Papers 10-20, Utrecht School of Economics.
  16. Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano Fenoaltea, 2008. "Shipbuilding in Italy, 1861-1913:The Burden of The Evidence," CEIS Research Paper 137, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 15 Dec 2008.
  17. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:4:p:1403-1448 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. repec:bla:restud:v:66:y:1999:i:3:p:529-54 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Philippe Aghion & Nicholas Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2002. "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted U Relationship," NBER Working Papers 9269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. William D. Nordhaus, 1972. "The Recent Productivity Slowdown," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 3(3), pages 493-546.
  21. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
  22. Giovanni Federico & Antonio Tena Junguito, 1998. "Did trade policy foster Italian industrialization evidences from the effective production rates 1870-1930," Working Papers in Economic History wh985504, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
  23. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
  24. Virginia Di Nino & Barry Eichengreen & Massimo Sbracia, 2011. "Real Exchange Rates, Trade, and Growth: Italy 1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 10, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  25. Max-Stephan Schulze, 2007. "Origins of catch-up failure: comparative productivity growth in the Hapsburg Empire, 1870-1910," Economic History Working Papers 22318, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  26. Herman De Jong & Pieter Woltjer, 2011. "Depression dynamics: a new estimate of the Anglo‐American manufacturing productivity gap in the interwar period," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 472-492, 05.
  27. Broadberry, S N & Fremdling, Rainer, 1990. "Comparative Productivity in British and German Industry 1907-37," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(4), pages 403-21, Special I.
  28. Broadberry, S. N., 1997. "Anglo-German productivity differences 1870 1990: A sectoral analysis," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 247-267, August.
  29. -, Anupama, 2013. "Deficits In Productive Employment In India," Journal of Regional Development and Planning, JRDP, vol. 2(2), pages 87-107.
  30. Harold James & Kevin H. O’Rourke, 2012. "Italy and the first age of Globalization, 1861-1940," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _094, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  31. Cheng, Cheng-Feng & Chang, Man-Ling & Li, Chu-Shiu, 2013. "Configural paths to successful product innovation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(12), pages 2561-2573.
  32. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," NBER Working Papers 13290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Fagerberg, Jan, 2000. "Technological progress, structural change and productivity growth: a comparative study," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 393-411, December.
  34. Alexander, Barbara, 1994. "The Impact of the National Industrial Recovery Act on Cartel Formation and Maintenance Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 245-54, May.
  35. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  36. Eichengreen, Barry & Hatton, Tim, 1988. "Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt7bw188gk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  37. Tattara, Giuseppe & Toniolo, Giovanni, 1976. "L'industria manifatturiera: cicli, politiche e mutamenti di struttura (1921-1937)
    [Manufacturing in Italy: business cycle, politics, structural change (1921-1937)]
    ," MPRA Paper 39090, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  38. Mattesini, F. & Quintieri, B., 2006. "Does a reduction in the length of the working week reduce unemployment? Some evidence from the Italian economy during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 413-437, July.
  39. Carreras Albert & Felice Emanuele, 2010. "L'industria italiana dal 1911 al 1938: ricostruzione della serie del valore aggiunto e interpretazioni," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 285-334.
  40. Hui-Ling Chung & Yan-Shu Lin & Jin-Li Hu, 2013. "Bundling strategy and product differentiation," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 108(3), pages 207-229, April.
  41. Fremdling, Rainer & De Jong, Herman & Timmer, Marcel P., 2007. "British and German Manufacturing Productivity Compared: A New Benchmark for 1935/36 Based on Double Deflated Value Added," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 350-378, June.
  42. Cha, Myung Soo & Kim, Nak Nyeon, 2012. "Korea's first industrial revolution, 1911–1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 60-74.
  43. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
  44. repec:bdi:workqs:qse_09 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.