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Measuring WellbeingA History of Italian Living Standards$
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Giovanni Vecchi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199944590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199944590.001.0001

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The Cost of Living

The Cost of Living

Chapter:
(p.524) 14 The Cost of Living
Source:
Measuring Wellbeing
Author(s):

Nicola Amendola

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199944590.003.0015

Despite the fact that Italy has recently celebrated the 150th anniversary of its political unification, geographical disparities stand out as a prominent characteristic of the Italian economy. In this chapter we present new estimates of the gap in the average level of prices between the north and the south of the country. The positions of the two macro-areas of the country have not changed over the century and a half after unification: the north has always had a higher per-capita income than the south and a higher overall price level. The north–south divide has steadily increased, from 10 percent in 1951 to almost 20 percent in recent years. The observed divergence in price levels highlights the delay, possibly the failure, in Italy’s economic integration. Its cost, in terms of both foregone economic growth and distributive equity, is borne by Italian society as a whole.

Keywords:   Prices, Cost of living, Price indices, Inflation, Hyperinflation, Economic integration, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), (North–South divide), Paul Samuelson, Béla Balassa

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