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Italy’s Growth and Decline, 1861-2011

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With the end of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, the availability of a large body of new historical statistical data calls for a redefinition of the features of Italian economic growth. The paper presents new estimates – at both national and regional level – of Italy’s GDP from 1861 to 2011; we discuss their interpretation in the light of the changes in the institutions, in technological regimes and in the broader international context. In contrast with its successful long-term performance, Italy’s economic growth has slackened since the 1990s and has now come to a halt. The paper deals with the question of whether fears that the country is on the road to economic decline are grounded. The answer is an affirmative one. Part of the problem is southern Italy’s inability to converge towards the more virtuous part of the country.

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  • Emanuele Felice & Giovanni Vecchi, 2013. "Italy’s Growth and Decline, 1861-2011," CEIS Research Paper 293, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 11 Oct 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:293
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    1. Felice, Emanuele, 2014. "Il Mezzogiorno fra storia e pubblicistica. Una replica a Daniele e Malanima [Southern Italy between history and journalistic books. A reply to Daniele and Malanima]," MPRA Paper 55830, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Alfonso Díez‐Minguela & Rafael González‐Val & Julio Martinez‐Galarraga & M. Teresa Sanchis & Daniel A. Tirado, 2020. "The long‐term relationship between economic development and regional inequality: South‐West Europe, 1860–2010," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(3), pages 479-508, June.
    3. Emanuele Felice, 2013. "Regional income inequality in Italy in the long run (1871–2001). Patterns and determinants," UHE Working papers 2013_08, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    4. Stefano Fenoaltea, 2020. "The fruits of disaggregation: The engineering industry, tariff protection, and the industrial investment cycle in Italy, 1861-1913," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 73(292), pages 77-110.
    5. Paolo Di Martino & Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2017. "The curious case of the coexistence of two “access-orders”: Explaining the Italian regional divide," Department of Economics University of Siena 758, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. Felice, Emanuele, 2015. "Il divario Nord-Sud in Italia (1861-2011): lo stato dell'arte [Italy’s North-South divide (1861-2011): the state of the art]," MPRA Paper 62209, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. 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.
    8. Roberto Pezzuto, 2017. "The Age Distribution of the Labour Force as Evidence of Prior Events: The Italian Data for 1911 and the Long Swing in Investment from Unification to the Great War," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 42, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Emanuele Felice & Amedeo Lepore, 2017. "State intervention and economic growth in Southern Italy: the rise and fall of the ‘Cassa per il Mezzogiorno’ (1950–1986)," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(3), pages 319-341, April.
    10. Emanuele Felice, 2015. "La stima e l’interpretazione dei divari regionali nel lungo periodo: i risultati principali e alcune tracce di ricerca," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(3), pages 91-120.
    11. Baffigi, Alberto & Bontempi, Maria Elena & Felice, Emanuele & Golinelli, Roberto, 2015. "The changing relationship between inflation and the economic cycle in Italy: 1861–2012," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 53-70.
    12. Gabriele Cappelli & Emanuele Felice & Julio Martínez-Galarraga & Daniel Tirado, 2018. "Still a long way to go: decomposing income inequality across Italy’s regions, 1871 – 2011," Working Papers 0123, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    13. 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.

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    Keywords

    Italy; economic decline; modern economic growth; questione meridionale; GDP;
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