nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2011‒12‒19
29 papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Convergence among Italian Regions, 1861-2011 By Giovanni Iuzzolino; Guido Pellegrini; Gianfranco Viesti
  2. Three centuries of macro-economic statistics By Bos, Frits
  3. Italy and the first age of globalization, 1861-1940 By Harold James; Kevin H. O’Rourke
  4. Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-Run Perspective By Giovanni Federico; Nikolaus Wolf
  5. The Italian Economy Seen from Abroad over 150 Years By Marcello de Cecco
  6. Population, ethnicity and confession in the county of Arad in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century By Ghita, Eugen
  7. The Well-Being of Italians: A Comparative Historical Approach By Andrea Brandolini; Giovanni Vecchi
  8. Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship By Franco Amatori; Matteo Bugamelli; Andrea Colli
  9. Italian National Accounts, 1861-2011 By Alberto Baffigi
  10. Italy, Germany, Japan: From Economic Miracles to Virtual Stagnation By Andrea Boltho
  11. A new monthly chronology of the US industrial cycles in the prewar economy. By Amélie Charles; Olivier Darné; Claude Diebolt; Laurent Ferrara
  12. The Great Depression in Belgium: an Open-Economy Analysis. By Luca Pensieroso
  13. Outward and Inward Migrations in Italy: A Historical Perspective By Matteo Gomellini; Cormac Ó Gráda
  14. The democratic crisis of capitalism: Reflections on political and economic modernity in Europe By Peter Wagner
  15. A Comparative Perspective on Italy’s Human Capital Accumulation By Giuseppe Bertola; Paolo Sestito
  16. Old and new Italian multinational firms By Giuseppe Berta; Fabrizio Onida
  17. State Capacity and Military Conflict By Gennaioli, Nicola; Voth, Hans-Joachim
  18. A Sectoral Analysis of Italy’s Development, 1861-2011 By Stephen Broadberry; Claire Giordano; Francesco Zollino
  19. Has gold been a hedge against inflation in France from 1949 to 2011? Empirical evidence of the French specificity. By Thi Hong Van Hoang
  20. Democratization and Civic Capital in Italy By Luigi Guiso; Paolo Pinotti
  21. Public Debt and Economic Growth in Italy By Fabrizio Balassone; Maura Francese; Angelo Pace
  22. A chronology of turning points in economic activity: Spain 1850-2011 By Travis J. Berge; Òscar Jordà
  23. Allocation des talents et accumulation de capital humain en France à la fin du XIXe siècle. By Charlotte Le Chapelain
  24. Technology news and the U.S. economy: Time variation and structural changes By Berg, Tim Oliver
  25. The Golden Age and the Second Globalization in Italy By Nicholas Crafts; Marco Magnani
  26. Gender Regimes and Welfare States in France: A historical perspective By Ai-Thu Dang; Jean-Marie Monnier
  27. A real-time historical database for the OECD By Adriana Z. Fernandez; Evan F. Koenig; Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy
  28. Enfranchisement and Representation: Italy 1909-1913 By Valentino Larcinese
  29. Innovation and Foreign Technology in Italy,1861-2011 By Federico Barbiellini Amidei; John Cantwell; Anna Spadavecchia

  1. By: Giovanni Iuzzolino (Bank of Italy, Naples Branch); Guido Pellegrini (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"); Gianfranco Viesti (Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro")
    Abstract: In 150 years, the trends in regional disparities in economic development within Italy have differed depending on whether they are gauged by longitude or by latitude. The disparities between western and eastern regions first widened and then closed; the North-South gap, by contrast, remains the main open problem in the national history of Italy. This work focuses on the underlying causes of the turning points in regional disparities since national unification in 1861. The first came in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with the industrialization of the so-called “industrial triangle”. This was followed by the “failed new turn” during the interwar years: not only were the beginnings of convergence blocked but the North-South gap, until then still natural, inevitable, was transformed into a fracture of exceptional dimensions. The second turning point, in the twenty years after the World War, produced the first substantial, lasting convergence between southern and northern Italy, powered by rising productivity and structural change in the South. The last turning point was in the mid-1970s, when convergence was abruptly halted and a protracted period of immobility in the disparity began.
    Keywords: Italy, regional disparities
    JEL: N63 N93 R11 R12
    Date: 2011–10
  2. By: Bos, Frits
    Abstract: This paper describes the history of the national accounts starting from the incidental estimates by Petty, King and Davenant in the seventeenth century. The period 1930-1950 was a revolution in terms of the roles and uses of the national accounts, e.g. the discovery of input-output analysis, purchasing power parities and macro-econometric modelling and the Keynesian revolution in economic thinking. Most of these new uses also reinforced each other. These uses were also closely linked to the economic circumstances: the economic crisis of the thirties, the Second World War and the need for recovery afterwards stimulated an active role of the government. In 1947, for the first time a report on national accounting concepts was published by the UN. Some years later, the first official guidelines were published. Since then, national accounting theory and practice have increasingly been dominated by these guidelines. The period since the Second World War can thus best be labelled as 'the era of the international guidelines'. Many innovations in national accounting have been made since the Second World War. After gaining wider acceptance and maturity, a great deal of them has been included in the guidelines and some others have not. Since the Second World War, the national accounts statistics published by countries all over the world have changed drastically in scope, concepts, frequency and detail. These developments in national accounts practice do not have a straightforward relationship to the international guidelines. Due to the European Unification, the supply of national accounts in Europe has been improved dramatically.
    Keywords: History of national accounts; History of input-output analysis; Kuznets; Petty; King; Davenant; Vauban; Quesnay; Fleetwood; Boisguillebert; Keynes; Hicks; Frisch; van Cleeff; Clark; Meade; Stone; Tinbergen; Lindahl; Goldsmith; Copeland; History of international guidelines of national accounting
    JEL: O47 C82 B1 E01 E60 O11 O20 B2 B41
    Date: 2011–12
  3. By: Harold James (Princeton University); Kevin H. O’Rourke (Trinity College, Dublin)
    Abstract: The paper presents trade policy as in line with that of other continental European powers, with a move to moderate levels of tariff protection for politically sensitive sectors such as steel and textiles and clothing, but also in agriculture, with levels of protection falling slightly before the First World War. Monetary policy was similarly driven by the constraints of capital scarcity, and by the political priority attached to reducing the cost of funding government debt. The most innovative area was probably in industrial policy, where after the 1880s and again in the 1930s in response to sever shocks, quite creative institutional policies were adopted. In particular financial restructuring was used as an opportunity to reshape the structure of industry.
    Keywords: Comparative Economic History, Industrial Policy, Monetary Policy, Monetary Regime,Trade Policy
    JEL: N23 N24 N73 N74
    Date: 2011–10
  4. By: Giovanni Federico (European University Institute, Florence and Università di Pisa); Nikolaus Wolf (Humboldt University Berlin and CEPR)
    Abstract: The history of Italy since her unification in 1861 reflects the two-way relationship between foreign trade and economic development. Its growth was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the country’s integration with European and global commodity markets: foreign trade in the long run grew on average faster than the overall economy. Behind the dynamics of aggregate trade, Italy’s comparative advantage changed fundamentally over the last 150 years. The composition of trade, in terms of both commodities imported and exported and in terms of trading partners, developed from a high concentration of a few trading partners and a handful of rather simple commodities into a wide diversification of trading partners and more sophisticated commodities. In this chapter we use a new long-term database on Italian foreign trade at a high level of disaggregation to document and analyze these changes. We will conclude with an assessment of Italy’s prospects from a historical perspective.
    Keywords: international trade, 19th-20th century, Italy
    JEL: F14 N73 N74
    Date: 2011–10
  5. By: Marcello de Cecco (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)
    Abstract: Since it became a united country, Italy was looked at with keen eyes by foreign economists, economic historians and policy makers. They wanted to see whether it would be possible for the economy of a country which had in the XVIIth and XVIIIth century regressed to the role of agricultural raw material exporter after having been the premier site of European industry, trade and especially, finance, in the middle ages and the Renaissance, to redress itself and join the industrial revolution making good use of its population and territory, which gave it the potential to be among the great powers of Europe. In this paper several instances of this are considered, focussing on foreign observers who concerned themselves with the Italian economy at defferent stages of its development. An attempt is made to see what influence their opinions had on Italian economic debate and Italian policy making.
    Keywords: Italy, Economic history
    JEL: N13 N14
    Date: 2011–10
  6. By: Ghita, Eugen
    Abstract: At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Arad County contained only 25 localities in the north of Mureş River, and in the middle of the century, the administrative unit was extended by incorporating two districts of Zarand County, which would then be abolished. We made calculations on population from Arad County in its extended administrative form, but also including in these calculations the Serbian militaries’ families, who, at least until the abolition of the Tisa-Mureş military border, had an important share in these areas. The growth of Arad County population throughout the period was 13.8 times, from about 15000 inhabitants around the year 1700 to 207039 inhabitants in 1828. From this point of view, Arad is different from all the counties from Transylvania and Partium. Only Sătmar County has grown quite large, 7.6 times during 1720-1828, while Bihor County increased 5.4 times and Cluj County 3.3 times in the same range.
    Keywords: urbariums; conscriptions; population growth; demographic evolution
    JEL: J10
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Andrea Brandolini (Bank of Italy); Giovanni Vecchi (Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”)
    Abstract: The paper describes the evolution of the well-being of the Italians during the 150 years since the country’s unification. The progress in material standard of living was substantial, with GDP per capita growing 13 times between 1861 and 2010 and hours of work (and hence effort) falling considerably, but was roughly in line with that experienced by most other European countries. By relying on a novel database on household budgets, the paper shows that economic growth was accompanied by a long-run reduction of inequality that appears however to have been reversed in the last two decades. Progress was not limited to the economic domain: educational attainment improved considerably, although less than in other countries; on the other hand, the increase in life expectancy was spectacular and brought Italians to lead the international ranking.
    Keywords: Italian history, human progress, income inequality
    JEL: D31
    Date: 2011–10
  8. By: Franco Amatori (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan); Matteo Bugamelli (Bank of Italy); Andrea Colli (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan)
    Abstract: The economic performance of a country depends, among other things, on the strategies and structures of its firms. In the framework that is designed by institutions and policies and determined by technology and macroeconomic cycles, entrepreneurs decide how to allocate available resources in order to face off competitors and to hook up with demand cycles. This paper looks at the evolution of the Italian economy across the last 150 years from a business history perspective. Analyzing Italian firms over the long-term cycles of the global economy and with respect to the different paradigms of the three industrial revolutions, we identify some structural features that explain successes and failures of the Italian economy. In doing this we explicitly connect the micro level of the business enterprise to the macro one of the national business system and explain the comparatively good performance of the Italian economy from the end of the 19th century to the 1970s. Over the last three decades this performance has turned negative, highlighting the role played by the small average size of firms and the failure of institutions to provide incentives for growth.
    Keywords: firm size, technological paradigms, innovation, entrepreneurship
    JEL: N83 N84 P12 O33 O38
    Date: 2011–10
  9. By: Alberto Baffigi (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: A great deal of new quantitative research has been produced over the last three decades which has radically changed the received interpretation of Italian economic development. Against this backdrop, the Bank of Italy, Istat and the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, together with academics from other institutions, developed a project to estimate new historical national accounts time series. Our reconstruction covers the 150 years following the political unification of Italy and is based on the most up-to-date results in the literature. It provides estimates of supply and uses at constant and at current prices. The documentation could not be reported fully in the following few pages. The details will be presented in full in a book to be published in the coming months, coauthored by all who contributed to the enterprise. In this paper I draw a general picture of the new time series. I focus on historically significant periods, using them as case studies in order to illustrate some features of the new data, both technical and substantial. A detailed, if incomplete, methodological account of our work is given in the appendices.
    Keywords: Italy, National Accounts, Historical data reconstruction
    JEL: C82 N13 N14
    Date: 2011–10
  10. By: Andrea Boltho (Magdalen College, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Over the last six decades, economic developments in the three countries that were defeated in World War II look strikingly similar. First came rapid reconstruction. Then followed the economic miracles of the Golden Age. The years that went from the first oil shock to the mid-1990s still saw fairly robust, and relatively similar, economic developments. Finally, during the last 15 years, the three countries held the dubious record of having the lowest output growth rates in the OECD area. The paper looks primarily at Italy, using the examples of Germany and Japan to search for parallels and contrasts. Among similarities, the main one lies in overall macroeconomic trends. The main differences are in economic policies (where Germany and Japan followed a much more orthodox stance than Italy), in institutional set-ups (with Italy much less efficient than Germany and Japan), in labour market relations (with much greater conflict in Italy than in the other two countries), and in regional developments (where Italy was handicapped by the presence of the Mezzogiorno, while Germany and Japan were hardly touched by regional differentials, at least until unification in Germany. Indeed, had Italy’s government institutions, labour market relations and regional differentials been less problematic, Italy’s growth performance might well have been superior to that of both Germany and Japan.
    Keywords: Comparative economic history
    JEL: N1
    Date: 2011–10
  11. By: Amélie Charles (Audencia Nantes, School of Management, 8 route de la Jonelière, 44312 Nantes Cedex 3.); Olivier Darné (LEMNA, University of Nantes, IEMN–IAE, Chemin de la Censive du Tertre, BP 52231, 44322 Nantes.); Claude Diebolt (BETA/CNRS, Université de Strasbourg.); Laurent Ferrara (Banque de France, International Macroeconomics Division.)
    Date: 2012
  12. By: Luca Pensieroso (Chargé de Recherches FRS - FNRS, IRES, Université catholique de Louvain.)
    Date: 2012
  13. By: Matteo Gomellini (Bank of Italy); Cormac Ó Gráda (University College of Dublin)
    Abstract: This work focuses on some economic aspects of the two main waves of Italian emigration (1876-1913 and post-1945) and of the immigration of recent years. First, we examine the characteristics of migrants. Second, for the period 1876-1913 we investigate the determinants of emigration using a new dataset that allows us to control for regional fixed effects. In this context, the role of the networks formed by once migrated in shaping early twentieth-century Italian emigration results enhanced (30 per cent higher than previously found). Third, we analyze the consequences of emigration for those left behind. A particular concern is whether emigration as a whole raised the living standards of those who stayed and whether it promoted interregional convergence within Italy. Our simulation exercises suggest that in the long run emigration accounted for a share of 4-5 per cent of the total per capita GDP growth; the contribution at the South was twofold with respect to the North. In the recent past Italy has become a country of net immigration. We explore nowadays’ immigration in the light of our findings on earlier Italian emigration, focusing on the links with the economic activity, the labor market, the balance of payments, crime and public opinion, on the other.
    Keywords: migration determinants, migration effects, self-selection, public perception
    JEL: N0 F22
    Date: 2011–10
  14. By: Peter Wagner
    Abstract: Are 'modern societies' necessarily democratic societies and capitalist (or: market) societies? This is what most of the social sciences of the post-Second World War period have assumed, while only some strands of critical, often Marx-inspired approaches contested this connection. This essay briefly reconsiders the link between democracy and capitalism both in theoretical and historical terms to then advance a hypothesis about the current constellation of political and economic modernity which seems to be marked by a paradox. On the one hand, both democracy, apparently spreading through 'waves of democratization', and capitalism, as the outcome of economic globalization, seem to be without alternative. On the other hand, current capitalism is highly crisis-ridden and democracy, at least in Europe, witnesses strong signs of disaffection. In this light, the essay proposes to see the current constellation as the outcome of a democratic crisis of capitalism during the 1970s. The reasoning proceeds in five steps. First, we will reconsider theories that have assumed that there is a strong conceptual connection between democracy and capitalism. Secondly, we will briefly review the history of the relation between modern capitalism and modern democracy from their beginnings until the 1970s to refine the ideas about such conceptual link. These two steps, thirdly, will allow for an interim conclusion to understand the double crisis of the 1970s, of both capitalism and democracy, an understanding that opens the path to two observations – the fourth and fifth steps – on the current condition of global capitalism and the alleged global movement of democratisation. First, the developments of the past four decades can be seen as a transformation of capitalism in reaction to democratic demands. Extrapolating from this insight, second, one may ask whether there is not a basic tension between economic and political modernity, given the evident difficulty of keeping political citizenship connected to socio-economic citizenship.
    Date: 2011–12
  15. By: Giuseppe Bertola (Edhec Business School and CEPR); Paolo Sestito (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the evolution of educational institutions and outcomes over the 150 years since Italy’s unification, and discusses their interaction with national and regional growth patterns. While initial educational conditions contributed to differentiate across regions the early industrial take off in the late 19th century, and formal education does not appear to have played a major role in the postwar economic boom, the slowdown of Italy’s economy since the 1990s may be partly due to interactions between its traditionally low human capital intensity and new comparative advantage patterns, and to the deterioration since the 1970s of the educational system’s organization.
    Keywords: Education systems, tracking, economic growth, regional convergence
    JEL: N30
    Date: 2011–10
  16. By: Giuseppe Berta (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan); Fabrizio Onida (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan)
    Abstract: After a quick profile of Italian foreign direct investments since 1900 and a short review of the main explanations of the lagged multinational growth by Italian manufacturing companies, a quick glimpse of business histories is given to the only two still today living “old protagonists” (Pirelli, Fiat) and to three old corporate groups (Olivetti, SNIA Viscosa, Montecatini-Montedison) who had also reached a significant degree of full internationalization early in the XX century, but during the second postwar period underwent profound dismantling of their original business mission. Finally the paper focuses on few cases of “new protagonists”, mid-size family companies who undertook a true multinational strategy only in the most recent decades and today represent the core of the Italian “fourth capitalism”.
    Keywords: Italian industry-multinational companies
    JEL: F23 L60 N63 N64 N83 N84
    Date: 2011–10
  17. By: Gennaioli, Nicola; Voth, Hans-Joachim
    Abstract: In 1500, Europe was composed of hundreds of statelets and principalities, with weak central authority, no monopoly over the legitimate use of violence, and multiple, overlapping levels of jurisdiction. By 1800, Europe had consolidated into a handful of powerful, centralized nation states. We build a model that simultaneously explains both the emergence of capable states and growing divergence between European powers. In our model, the impact of war on the European state system depends on: i) the importance of money for determining the war outcome (which stands for the cost of war), and ii) a country's initial level of domestic political fragmentation. We emphasize the role of the 'Military Revolution', which raised the cost of war. Initially, this caused more internally cohesive states to invest more in state capacity, while other (more divided) states rationally dropped out of the competition. This mechanism leads to both increasing divergence between European states, and greater average investments in state building on the continent overall.
    Keywords: ethnicity; fragmentation; military conflict; state capacity; taxation; war
    JEL: H2 H3 H4 N43
    Date: 2011–12
  18. By: Stephen Broadberry (London School of Economics); Claire Giordano (Bank of Italy); Francesco Zollino (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: Italy’s economic growth over its 150 years of unified history did not occur at a steady pace nor was it balanced across sectors. Relying on an entirely new input (labour and capital) database by us built and presented in the Appendix, together with new Banca d’Italia estimates of GDP by sector, this paper evaluates the different labour productivity growth trends within the Italian economy’s sectors, as well as the contribution of structural change to productivity growth. Italy’s performance is then set in an international context: a comparison of sectoral labour productivity growth rates and levels within a selected sample of countries (UK, US, Germany, Japan, India) allows us to better time, quantify and gauge the causes of Italy’s catching-up process and subsequent more recent slowdown. Finally, the paper analyses the proximate sources of Italy’s growth, relative to the other countries, in a standard growth accounting framework, in an attempt also to disentangle the contribution of both total factor productivity growth and capital deepening to the country’s labour productivity dynamics.
    Keywords: Labour productivity, sectoral disaggregation, international comparison, growth accounting
    JEL: N10 N30 O47 O57
    Date: 2011–10
  19. By: Thi Hong Van Hoang (Professeur assistant en Finance au Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier Business School, Montpellier Recherche en Management, 2300 avenue des Moulins, 34185 Montpellier.)
    Date: 2012
  20. By: Luigi Guiso (European University Institute,Florence, EIEF, & CEPR); Paolo Pinotti (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan & DONDENA)
    Abstract: We document a sharp reversal in electoral participation between the North and the South of Italy after the 1912 enfranchisement which extended voting rights from a limited élite to (almost) all adult males. When voting was restricted to the élite, electoral turnout was higher in the South but falls significantly below that in the North after the enfranchisement. Furthermore the new gap is never bridged over the following century and participation remains lower in the South despite the enrichment of democratic institutions and further extension of voting rights to the female population during the post war democratic republic. This pattern in the data is consistent with a simple model where individuals’ voting in political elections is affected by private benefits and by civic duty, only elites can grab private benefits from participation in politics and civic culture differs across communities. We also find that extension of voting rights to non-elites results in a significant transfer of power to their political organizations only among populations with a high sense of civic duties. Together with the very persistent gap in participation between North and South our findings suggest that democratization – a process of concession of democratic rights – can benefit non-elites only when the latter have already a high sense of civic capital and is unlikely to be a viable avenue for inducing norms of civic behavior.
    Keywords: democracy, culture, civic capital, institutions formation, voting
    JEL: A1 E0 N4 Z1
    Date: 2011–10
  21. By: Fabrizio Balassone (Bank of Italy); Maura Francese (Bank of Italy); Angelo Pace (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: In this paper we investigate the link between government debt-to-GDP ratio and real per capita income growth in Italy over 1861-2009. We model our regression analysis on a standard production function. Our results support the hypotheses of a negative relation between public debt and growth and of a stronger effect of foreign debt compared to domestic debt before World War I. The effect of public debt on growth appears to work mainly through reduced investment. These results help explain the different reaction of per capita GDP growth to the debt-ratio over 1880-1914 (when the negative correlation between the two variables is particularly strong) and 1985-2007 (when the correlation appears to break down when debt starts declining). A descriptive analysis of fiscal policy in these two periods suggests that differences in the timing of fiscal consolidation as well as in the size and composition of the budget are additional explanatory factors.
    Keywords: public debt, economic growth, Italian economic history
    JEL: H63 E60 N0
    Date: 2011–10
  22. By: Travis J. Berge; Òscar Jordà
    Abstract: This paper codifies in a systematic and transparent way a historical chronology of business cycle turning points for Spain reaching back to 1850 at annual frequency, and 1939 at monthly frequency. Such an exercise would be incomplete without assessing the new chronology itself and against others —this we do with modern statistical tools of signal detection theory. We also use these tools to determine which of several existing economic activity indexes provide a better signal on the underlying state of the economy. We conclude by evaluating candidate leading indicators and hence construct recession probability forecasts up to 12 months in the future.
    Keywords: Business cycles ; Spain
    Date: 2011
  23. By: Charlotte Le Chapelain (Université Lyon 3, Centre Lyonnais d'histoire du droit et de la pensée politique.)
    Date: 2012
  24. By: Berg, Tim Oliver
    Abstract: This paper examines the time varying impact of technology news shocks on the U.S. economy during the Post-World War II era using a structural time varying parameter vector autoregressive (TVP-VAR) model. The identification restrictions are derived froma standard new Keynesian dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model and hold for a wide range of parameter constellations. In addition, the set of restrictions is sufficient to discriminate technology news shocks from other supply and demand side disturbances - technology surprise shocks among them. Overall, there is little evidence that the variance of technology news shocks or their transmission to real activity and inflation has changed over time. However, I detect significant time variation in the endogenous monetary policy reaction to technology news shocks; responding strongly to inflation most of the time, but less during the Great Inflation period. The evidence of this paper thus supports the hypothesis that the high inflation rates of the mid and late 1970s were the result of bad policy rather than bad luck.
    Keywords: technology news shocks; business cycles; monetary policy; DSGE models; structural time varying parameter VARs
    JEL: E32 E52 C11
    Date: 2011
  25. By: Nicholas Crafts (University of Warwick); Marco Magnani (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: After the Golden Age, Italy experienced increasing difficulties in adjusting its economy to the changing external context and to the requirements for sustaining catch-up growth at a higher level of economic development. The adjustment issue is common to advanced countries but the difficulties experienced in Italy look particularly severe. Cushioned by inflation and devaluation, growth remained relatively high in the 1970s. In the subsequent decade, in spite of improved conditions for addressing macroeconomic disequilibria structural adjustments were neglected. Major supply side reforms were eventually implemented in the aftermath of the 1992 crisis. Nevertheless, in the second half of the decade growth fell below the EU average. These necessary reforms fell however short of what was required. Participation in EMU did not help as far as the improvement of growth prospects was concerned. In the last section some of the economic and metaeconomic factors explaining the ineffectiveness of the reform process are briefly explored.
    Keywords: Italy, Europe, Postwar Economic Growth and Policy
    JEL: N14 O52
    Date: 2011–10
  26. By: Ai-Thu Dang; Jean-Marie Monnier
    Abstract: This paper has a twofold aim. First, we will analyze the system of family benefits in relation with the income tax system in France through the adoption of a historical and gender perspective. While typologies of welfare states frequently neglect taxation, in our view, one must take family taxation into account because it provides incentives and disincentives for paid income. Moreover, in the case of France, a close relationship exists between family benefits and taxation on income, one that stems from certain discussions—discussions led to the birth of the French system.Second, we will demonstrate how and to what extent France has moved away from the male-breadwinner model. However, any decline of the malebreadwinner model does not, in turn, indicate a corresponding shift toward a dual caregiver model. Indeed, the current French model has ambiguous effects on gender relations.
    Keywords: gender regimes, gender relations, unpaid work, French policy reform
    JEL: J16 J18 J21
    Date: 2011
  27. By: Adriana Z. Fernandez; Evan F. Koenig; Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy
    Abstract: Ongoing economic globalization makes real-time international data increasingly relevant, though little work has been done on collecting and analyzing real-time data for economies other than the U.S. In this paper, we introduce and examine a new international real-time dataset assembled from original quarterly releases of 13 quarterly variables presented in the OECD Main Economic Indicators from 1962 to 1998 for 26 OECD countries. By merging this data with the current OECD real-time dataset, which starts in 1999, researchers get access to a standard, up-to-date resource. To illustrate the importance of using real-time data in macroeconomic analysis, we consider five economic applications analyzed from a real-time perspective.
    Keywords: Macroeconomics - Econometric models ; Forecasting
    Date: 2011
  28. By: Valentino Larcinese
    Abstract: This paper presents evidence on the consequences of the 1912 introduction of "quasiuniversal" male suffrage in Italy. The reform increased the electorate from slightly less than three million to 8,650,000 and left the electoral rules and the district boundaries unchanged. This allows us to exploit the heterogeneity in enfranchisement rates across electoral districts to identify the causal effects of franchise extension on a number of political outcomes. The reform caused an increase in the vote share of social reformers (Socialists, Republicans and Radicals), together referred to as the Estrema. One standard deviation in the share of newly enfranchised voters over the total number of registered 1913 voters caused an increase of around 2% in votes for Estrema candidates but had no impact on their parliamentary net seat gains. Enfranchisement had also no impact on the parliamentary representation of aristocracy and traditional elites. Other outcomes (the chances of having candidates from the Estrema and the Herfindel-Hirshman index of electoral competition) were also unaffected, with the exception of turnout, which decreased. These findings show that de jure political equalization did not cause major changes to political representation, although the voting choices of the formerly and newly enfranchised citizens differed on average. This apparent puzzle is the consequence of the heterogeneity of the effect across a number of both social and political dimensions. The paper documents elite's effort to minimize the political impact of the reform.
    Keywords: democratization, voting, electoral competition, inequality, swingdistricts, political violence, Vatican, socialism.
    JEL: D3 D7 I25 N33 N34
    Date: 2011–12
  29. By: Federico Barbiellini Amidei (Bank of Italy); John Cantwell (Rutgers University); Anna Spadavecchia (University of Reading)
    Abstract: The paper explores the long run evolution of Italy’s performance in technological innovation as a function of international technology transfer, reconstructing the different phases and dimensions of Italian innovative activity, tracking the transfer of foreign technological knowledge through a number of channels, analysing the impact of imported technology. The study is based on a newly constructed dataset, over the 1861-2009 period, composed of variables related to: innovation activity performance; foreign technology transfer; domestic absorptive and innovative capability. The analysis highlights, also by econometric assessment, the significant contribution of foreign technology both to innovation activity results and to productivity growth. Differences across channels of technology transfer and historical phases emerge, also in connection with the evolution of human capital endowment and domestic innovative capacity. Machinery imports contributed positively both to innovation activity and to productivity growth; inward FDI contributed positively to productivity growth, but not to indigenous innovation activity; the accumulation of technical human capital fuelled both. In the long Italian Golden Age, for the first time the association of foreign technological knowledge with indigenous innovation processes strengthened productivity significantly. More recently instead the dismal productivity growth is negatively associated with formalised innovation activity under-performance and reduced imports of disembodied technology
    Keywords: Italy,Technology Transfer,Innovation,Absorptive Capability,Patenting
    JEL: N10 O31 O33 F23 O19
    Date: 2011–10

This nep-his issue is ©2011 by Bernardo Batiz-Lazo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.