Italy's Growth and Decline, 1861-2011
51 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 11, 2013
With the end of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, the availability of a large body of new historical statistical data calls for a redefinition of the features of Italian economic growth. The paper presents new estimates – at both national and regional level – of Italy’s GDP from 1861 to 2011; we discuss their interpretation in the light of the changes in the institutions, in technological regimes and in the broader international context. In contrast with its successful long-term performance, Italy’s economic growth has slackened since the 1990s and has now come to a halt. The paper deals with the question of whether fears that the country is on the road to economic decline are grounded. The answer is an affirmative one. Part of the problem is southern Italy’s inability to converge towards the more virtuous part of the country.
Keywords: Italy; economic decline; modern economic growth; questione meridionale; GDP
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