Patterns of industrial specialisation in post-Unification Italy
This paper investigates the patterns of sectoral specialisation in Italian provinces over half a century following the Unification of the country. To this end we propose a multivariate graphical technique named dynamic specialisation biplots. In 1871 specialisation vocations toward the different manufacturing sectors were limited in size and no clear geographical path emerged. A regional specialisation divide resulted clearly in 1911. In 1871 as in 1911 the foodstuffs, the textile, and the engineering sectors represented the three pillars delimiting the arena of the specialisation race. Within that arena, sharp changes in the directions of specialisation trajectories characterise a group of selected Northern provinces, largely attracted by the textile sector from the 1880s and from the engineering sector in the pre-War decade. Within region homogeneity and smooth specialisation trajectories are instead representative of most of the remaining provinces. Among them, Southern provinces exhibit specialisation paths revealing that little more than a composition effect occurred among manufacturing sectors.
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