EIRP Proceedings, Vol 7 (2012)

Growth and Inequality in Italy Over the Long Run (1871-2001): Trends, Patterns, Implications

Emanuele Felice


This article presents estimates of social and economic indicators for Italy and its regions, from 1871 to 2001: life expectancy, education (literacy and years of schooling), per capita Gdp, and the human development index. I discuss State intervention in promoting convergence and argue that this was more effective in life expectancy, important but inadequate in education, more expensive and less successful in Gdp. In human development, convergence took place from the late nineteenth century until the 1970s, then significantly slowed down. A broad interpretative hypothesis, based on the distinction between passive and active modernization, is proposed to account for the patterns.


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