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Unequal Unification? Income Inequality and Unification in 19th Century Italy and Germany


  • Erfurth, Philipp Emanuel


This research provides a comprehensive study of the linkages between unification and related policy choices on income inequality by examining the cases of Italy and Germany in the context of 19th century unification. To conduct this analysis, the study puts forward estimates of income inequality for pre-unification German states using social tables, compiled using primary data, some of which have thus far been unexplored in economic research. The findings suggest that differences in inequality between regions were more pronounced in Italy than in Germany. In seeking explanations for these trends, the study explores linkages between institutional structures, governance frameworks and inequality, connecting the research on federalism with the literature on inequality extraction. (Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality Working Paper)

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  • Erfurth, Philipp Emanuel, 2021. "Unequal Unification? Income Inequality and Unification in 19th Century Italy and Germany," SocArXiv 2fma9, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:2fma9
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
    2. Tilly Richard, 2010. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Prussia, 1852 to 1875: An Exploratory Study," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 51(1), pages 175-194, June.
    3. Milanovic, Branko, 2009. "Global inequality and global inequality extraction ratio: The story of the last two centuries," MPRA Paper 16535, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. de Oliveira, Guilherme & Guerriero, Carmine, 2018. "Extractive states: The case of the Italian unification," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 142-159.
    5. Charlotte Bartels & Felix Kersting & Nikolaus Wolf, 2021. "Testing Marx. Income inequality, concentration, and socialism in late 19th century Germany," Working Papers 0211, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    6. Milanovic, Branko, 2013. "The inequality possibility frontier : extensions and new applications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6449, The World Bank.
    7. Kocka, Jürgen, 1990. "Arbeitsverhältnisse und Arbeiterexistenzen: Grundlagen der Klassenbildung im 19. Jahrhundert," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, volume 2, number 122875, April.
    8. Vittorio Daniele & Paolo Malanima, 2017. "Regional Wages and the North-South Disparity in Italy after the Unification," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 117-158.
    9. Tilly Richard, 2010. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Prussia, 1852 to 1875: An Exploratory Study," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 51(1), pages 175-194, June.
    10. Alfani, Guido & Ryckbosch, Wouter, 2016. "Growing apart in early modern Europe? A comparison of inequality trends in Italy and the Low Countries, 1500–1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 143-153.
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