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The Spread of Modern Industry to the Periphery since 1871$
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Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke and Jeffrey Gale Williamson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198753643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198753643.001.0001

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The Industrialization of Italy, 1861–1971

The Industrialization of Italy, 1861–1971

(p.115) 6 The Industrialization of Italy, 1861–1971
The Spread of Modern Industry to the Periphery since 1871

Matteo Gomellini

Gianni Toniolo

Oxford University Press

At unification in 1861, the Italian peninsula was a relatively backward area at the European periphery. By 1971, Italy’s convergence on Europe’s northwestern industrial core was almost complete. This chapter describes the main features of Italy’s industrial and manufacturing growth, emphasizing the role of traditional and modern sectors. It assesses the impact of commercial and industrial policies, and analyses the country’s regional manufacturing divide. The chapter concludes with a list of the main drivers of the spread of manufacturing over the long run. It raises the question of the timing of the spread of industry from core to Italian periphery. On the eve of the Second World War, the shares of modern sectors in manufacturing were close to those of core countries. However, while Italy’s Northwest looked like an industrial region, the South was still part of the backward periphery—a divide that reduced only moderately after the war.

Keywords:   Italy, manufacturing, economic geography, economic history, regional inequality, core, periphery

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