Institutions, Politics and the Corporate Economy
Over the century and a half since its unification, Italy caught up with the most advanced economies. Such a result was achieved in the presence of an industrial structure which is in many respects unique in international perspective and characterized by a dominance of small firms and a marginal role of large firms. In the last twenty years, however, this pattern seems to have come to a halt. In this paper we explore the determinants of such a dynamic in the long run. The focus will be on the role played by institutions in forging an array of industrial policies in place over the last 150 years which determined the process of convergence and, more recently, of divergence in big business, and the outstanding, constant presence of a small business sector far beyond the average of the most advanced countries among which Italy is still considered to be.
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