Italy in the Great Divergence: What Can We Learn from Engel’s Law

51 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2023

See all articles by David Chilosi

David Chilosi

King’s College London - Department of Political Economy

Carlo Ciccarelli

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: July 18, 2023

Abstract

We estimate and internationally compare the evolution of GDP pc in central-northern and, for the first time, southern Italy in 1400-1861. To address concerns on the representativeness of daily wages, we rely on an unconventional demand approach, using a general equilibrium model and occupational data. Our estimates are consistent with an “industrious revolution” in the “long 18th century” (1650-1800). Central-northern Italy stagnated. Southern Italy, though poorer, was growing slowly. Our comparison suggests that the “great divergence” between Europe and Asia in the 18th century was rooted in contingent institutional developments, rather than persistent differences.

Suggested Citation

Chilosi, David and Ciccarelli, Carlo, Italy in the Great Divergence: What Can We Learn from Engel’s Law (July 18, 2023). CEIS Working Paper No. 562, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4514091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4514091

David Chilosi

King’s College London - Department of Political Economy ( email )

Strand Building
London
United Kingdom

Carlo Ciccarelli (Contact Author)

University of Rome Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Via Columbia n.2
Rome, rome 00100
Italy

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