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

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  • Anna Missiaia

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Missiaia, 2015. "Where Do We Go From Here? Market Access and Regional Development in Italy (1871-1911)," LEM Papers Series 2015/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2015/18
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    Cited by:

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    2. Domini, Giacomo, 2016. "Patents, exhibitions and markets for innovation in the early twentieth century: Evidence from Turin 1911 International Exhibition," MERIT Working Papers 2016-061, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Anna Missiaia, 2019. "Market versus endowment: explaining early industrial location in Italy (1871–1911)," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 13(1), pages 127-161, January.
    4. Vitantonio Mariella, 2023. "Landownership concentration and human capital accumulation in post-unification Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 36(3), pages 1695-1764, July.
    5. Maria Carmela Schisani & Luigi Balletta & Giancarlo Ragozini, 2021. "Crowding out the change: business networks and persisting economic elites in the South of Italy over Unification (1840–1880)," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(1), pages 89-131, January.
    6. Vania Licio, 2023. "The Italian coal shortage: the price of import and distribution, 1861–1911," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 17(3), pages 501-532, September.
    7. Emanuele Felice, 2017. "The Roots of a Dual Equilibrium: GDP, Productivity and Structural Change in the Italian Regions in the Long-run (1871-2011)," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 40, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. 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).
    9. Nielsen, Hana, 2021. "Coal and Sugar: The Black and White Gold of Czech Industrialization (1841-1863)," Lund Papers in Economic History 229, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    10. Rueda, Valeria & A'Hearn, Brian, 2020. "Internal Borders and Population Geography in the Unification of Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 14604, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Emanuele Felice, 2017. "The socio-institutional divide. Explaining Italy's regional inequality over the long run," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 503, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    12. Giacomo Domini, 2019. "Exhibitions, patents, and innovation in the early twentieth century: evidence from the Turin 1911 International Exhibition," LEM Papers Series 2019/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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    Keywords

    Economic Geography; Economic History of Italy; Market Potential;
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