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Agricultural Policy and Long-Run Development: Evidence from Mussolini’s Battle for Grain

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Abstract

This paper explores the effect of agricultural policies on industrialization and economic development over the long run. I analyze the differential effect of the Battle for Grain, implemented by the Italian Fascist regime to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production, on the development path across areas of Italy. Employing time variation, along with cross-sectional variation in the suitability of land for implementing the advanced wheat production technologies, I find that the policy had unintended positive effects on industrialization and economic prosperity which have persisted until the present day. Furthermore, I find that the positive effect of the Battle for Grain on human capital accumulation was instrumental in this process, suggesting that the complementarity between human capital and agricultural technology may be a critical mechanism through which agricultural productivity may enhance the development of non-agricultural sectors.

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  • Mario F. Carillo, 2018. "Agricultural Policy and Long-Run Development: Evidence from Mussolini’s Battle for Grain," CSEF Working Papers 518, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:518
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    Keywords

    Economic Growth; Agricultural Policy; Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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