The Human Development Index in Historical Perspective: Italy from Political Unification to the Present Day
The aim of this research is to provide a long run estimate of the Human Development Index (HDI) for Italy. To this purpose we have reconstructed Italian historical series relative to life expectancy, literacy rate, school enrolment rates and income. All the series presented are the result of a study which has produced, starting from primary sources, original series disaggregated to the regional level. The possibility of having, for Italy, a basis of comparison with the main developed countries has permitted us to show that, even though there has been significant progress in the values of the single variables, the country has not appreciably improved its position in the world ranking. This seems to be due, in large part, to the trend of the education variables that displays values decidedly distant from those of the main industrialized countries. As far as regional trends are concerned, we can observe a slow process of alignment of the values of the Southern regions to the values of the other Italian regions for levels of education and longevity, while income levels for the 1990s still remain quite distant.
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