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Technical Change, Non-Tariff Trade Barriers and the Development of the Italian Locomotives Industry, 1850-1913

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Abstract

In this paper we examine the dynamics of technical change in the Italian locomotive industry in the period 1850-1913. From an historical point of view, the case of the Italian locomotive industry presents a major point of interest: it was one of the few relatively sophisticated “high-tech” industries in which Italy, a latecomer country, was able to firmly set foot before 1913. Using technical data on the performance of different vintages of locomotives, we construct a new aggregate index of technical change for the industry. Overall the most successful phase for the Italian locomotive industry seems to be period 1895-1913 characterized by a very rapid technical progress and by the effective consolidation of the technological capabilities in this area of two major firms: Breda and Ansaldo. Our re-assessment reveals the critical role of non-tariff trade barriers in the development of this industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Ciccarelli & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2014. "Technical Change, Non-Tariff Trade Barriers and the Development of the Italian Locomotives Industry, 1850-1913," CEIS Research Paper 305, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 07 Feb 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:305
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    1. Dincecco, Mark & Federico, Giovanni & Vindigni, Andrea, 2011. "Warfare, Taxation, and Political Change: Evidence from the Italian Risorgimento," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 887-914, December.
    2. Federico, Giovanni & Tena Junguito, Antonio, 1998. "Did trade policy foster Italian industrialization evidences from the effective production rates 1870-1930," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wh985504, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    3. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    4. van Dijk, Michiel & Szirmai, Adam, 2006. "Industrial Policy and Technology Diffusion: Evidence from Paper Making Machinery in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2137-2152, December.
    5. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1971. "Railroads and Italian industrial growth, 1861-1913," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 325-351.
    6. Brian A’hearn, 1998. "Institutions, externalities, and economic growth in southern Italy: evidence from the cotton textile industry, 1861-1914," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 51(4), pages 734-762, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Pontarollo & Roberto Ricciuti, 2015. "Railways and the Productivity Gap in Italy: Persistence and Divergence after Unification," CESifo Working Paper Series 5438, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    technical change; non-tariff barriers; locomotives industry; 19th century Italy;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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