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Where Do We Go From Here? Market Access and Regional Development in Italy (1871-1911)

Listed author(s):
  • Anna Missiaia

Italy has been characterized, throughout its history as a unified country, by large regional differentials in the levels of income, industrialization and socio-economic development. This paper aims at testing the New Economic Geography hypothesis on the role of market access in explaining these regional differentials. We first quantify market access of the Italian regions for benchmark years from 1871 to 1911 following Harris (1954). We then use these estimates to study the causal link between GDP per capita and market potential following Head and Mayer (2011). The main result of this paper is that only domestic market potential, which represents the home market, shows a "traditional" North-South divide. When international markets are introduced, the South does not appear to lag behind. Regression analysis confirms that market potential is a strong determinant of GDP per capita only in its domestic formulation. This suggests that the home market in this period mattered far more for growth than the international markets, casting new light on one of the classical explanations to the North-South divide.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2015/18.

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Date of creation: 06 2015
Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2015/18
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  1. Martinez-Galarraga, Julio, 2012. "The determinants of industrial location in Spain, 1856–1929," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 255-275.
  2. Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "Market potential in British regions, 1871-1931," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(9), pages 1159-1166.
  3. Critz, José Morilla & Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 1999. "“Horn of Plenty”: The Globalization of Mediterranean Horticulture and the Economic Development of Southern Europe, 1880–1930," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(02), pages 316-352, June.
  4. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 2003. "Peeking Backward: Regional Aspects of Industrial Growth in Post-Unification Italy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(04), pages 1059-1102, December.
  5. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
  6. Alexander Klein & Nicholas Crafts, 2012. "Making sense of the manufacturing belt: determinants of U.S. industrial location, 1880--1920," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 775-807, July.
  7. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2004. "Market Potential and the Location of Japanese Investment in the European Union," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 959-972, November.
  8. Vittorio Daniele & Paolo Malanima, 2007. "Il prodotto delle regioni e il divario Nord-Sud in Italia (1861-2004)," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 97(2), pages 267-316, March-Apr.
  9. Antoni Estevadeordal & Brian Frantz & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "The Rise and Fall of World Trade, 1870-1939," NBER Working Papers 9318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. K.H. Midelfart & H.G. Overman & S.J. Redding & A.J. Venables, 2000. "The location of European industry," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 142, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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