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Outward and Inward Migrations in Italy: A Historical Perspective

  • Matteo Gomellini


    (Bank of Italy)

  • Cormac O' Grada


    (University College of Dublin)

This work focuses on some economic aspects of the two main waves of Italian emigration (1876-1913 and post-1945) and of the immigration of recent years. First, we examine the characteristics of migrants. Second, for the period 1876-1913 we investigate the determinants of emigration using a new dataset that allows us to control for regional fixed effects. In this context, the role of the networks formed by once migrated in shaping early twentieth-century Italian emigration results enhanced (30 per cent higher than previously found). Third, we analyze the consequences of emigration for those left behind. A particular concern is whether emigration as a whole raised the living standards of those who stayed and whether it promoted interregional convergence within Italy. Our simulation exercises suggest that in the long run emigration accounted for a share of 4-5 per cent of the total per capita GDP growth; the contribution at the South was twofold with respect to the North. In the recent past Italy has become a country of net immigration. We explore nowadays’ immigration in the light of our findings on earlier Italian emigration, focusing on the links with the economic activity, the labor market, the balance of payments, crime and public opinion, on the other.

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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 08.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_8
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