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The Ghost in the Attic? The Italian National Innovation System in Historical Perspective, 1861-2011

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  • Alessandro Nuvolari

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  • Michelangelo Vasta

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Abstract

In this paper we provide a survey of the long term evolution of the Italian “National innovation system” since the unification. . First we provide a broad reconstruction of long term trends by examining a wide range of quantitative indicators of science and technological activities in comparative perspective. Second, on the basis of this quantitative picture, we put forward a conjectural interpretation of the fundamental features of the Italian national innovation system. Our conclusion is that Italy has approached the process of Modern Economic Growth following a peculiar path characterized by a limited commitment to investments in science and technology in combination with low real wages and the intense use of unskilled labour.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2012. "The Ghost in the Attic? The Italian National Innovation System in Historical Perspective, 1861-2011," Department of Economics University of Siena 665, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:665
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. C. Antonelli, 2007. "Localized Technological Change," Chapters,in: Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, May.
    3. Fagerberg, Jan, 1994. "Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1147-1175, September.
    4. Federico Barbiellini Amidei & John Cantwell & Anna Spadavecchia, 2011. "Innovation and Foreign Technology in Italy,1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 07, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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    6. Fenoaltea,Stefano, 2014. "The Reinterpretation of Italian Economic History," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107658080, May.
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    12. Federico Lucidi & Alfred Kleinknecht, 2010. "Little innovation, many jobs: An econometric analysis of the Italian labour productivity crisis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 525-546.
    13. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    14. Pier Angelo Toninelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2014. "Opening the black box of entrepreneurship: The Italian case in a historical perspective," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(2), pages 161-186, March.
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    16. Akkermans, Dirk & Castaldi, Carolina & Los, Bart, 2009. "Do 'liberal market economies' really innovate more radically than 'coordinated market economies'?: Hall and Soskice reconsidered," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 181-191, February.
    17. Mario Cimoli & Giovanni Dosi & Richard R. Nelson & Joseph Stiglitz, 2006. "Institutions and Policies Shaping Industrial Development: An Introductory Note," LEM Papers Series 2006/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Di Martino & Michelangelo Vasta, 2012. "Happy 150th Birthday Italy? Institutions and Economic Performance Since 1861," Department of Economics University of Siena 662, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Andrea Colli & Alberto Rinaldi, 2012. "Institutions, Politics and the Corporate Economy," Department of Economics University of Siena 664, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    3. repec:psl:moneta:2017:13 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Paolo DI Martino & Michelangelo Vasta, 2014. "Discovering the dark heart of Italian capitalism: a perspective from Supreme Court legal cases and business consultants’ analyses (1950s-1970s)," Department of Economics University of Siena 698, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    5. Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Passive modernization? The new human development index and its components in Italy's regions (1871–2007)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 44-66.
    6. Paolo Di Martino & Emanuele Felice & Michelangelo Vasta, 2017. "The curious case of the coexistence of two “access-orders”: Explaining the Italian regional divide," Department of Economics University of Siena 758, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    7. repec:ssa:lemwps:2013/20 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Domini, Giacomo, 2015. "The innovation-trade nexus: Italy in historical perspective (1861-1939)," MERIT Working Papers 055, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation systems; Economic Growth; Italy; Science; Technology;

    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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