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The innovation-trade nexus: Italy in historical perspective (1861-1939)

Author

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  • Domini, Giacomo

    () (UNU-MERIT, and Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Siena)

Abstract

This work investigates the relationship between trade and technological specialisation in Italy, during the long time span ranging from Unification to the eve of the Second World War. To do this, new series of Italy's indices of specialisation in trade and technology are calculated on the base of offcial data. Empirical analysis, based on Spearman rank correlation coefficients and fixed-effects regression, shows the emergence of a positive relationship between specialisation in technology and specialisation in trade after the start of the country's modern economic growth, around the turn of the twentieth century. This, however, was uniquely driven by a negative relationship between technological specialisation and import shares, while no significant relationship between the former and export shares emerges. Furthermore, this finding excludes the most important sector, leading Italian industrialisation, i.e. textiles, the outstanding performance of which can be seen as largely determined by its being particularly suited to the country's factor endowment.

Suggested Citation

  • Domini, Giacomo, 2015. "The innovation-trade nexus: Italy in historical perspective (1861-1939)," MERIT Working Papers 2015-055, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2015055
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2015/wp2015-055.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    innovation; industrial specialization; trade; import-export; economic history; Italy; specialisation; comparative advantage;

    JEL classification:

    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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