Italy and Globalization

History and Modernity


by Antonio Forte

“Globalization is neither especially new, nor in general, a folly.”[1] Indeed, even if Globalization is undoubtedly one of the salient characteristics of the modern times, it has been a recurring feature throughout human history. But if we focus our attention on an economic analysis we can find a similarity between the present and the last decades of the nineteenth-century. For example, the quantities of exchanged products, in comparison with the entire national production, reached very elevated percentages in Japan, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Canada during the last period of the 19th Century. So much so that “novant’anni dopo, nonostante una facilità e capacità di trasporto delle merci enormemente superiori […] il volume di commercio internazionale è aumentato solo marginalmente.” [trad.: nineteen years later, the volume of international trade increased marginally, in spite of a superior facility and capacity in the transport of goods.] [2] But other phenomena, not only of economic nature, such as migration, are common of both the nineteenth-century and of our times. For these reasons, many researchers have referred to that period as “prima globalizzazione” [trad.: the first globalization] [3] to underline the similarities between that period and the last two decades. The increased interrelation among nations, recorded in these two periods, makes it very interesting to examine the connection between the economic structure of a nation and other economies.

By the light of these facts, in this short essay, I will deal with the evolution of the Italian economy during these two periods which are characterized by the phenomenon of globalization. By comparing the political and the economic choices a century later, we may understand if the errors of the past have served to improve the present government and entrepreneurial policies.


1. XIX – XX century

The first period that I will discuss starts in 1861, the year of the Italian Unification, and finishes in 1914, just before the First World War.

This period of fifty years is unanimously divided into three long epochs: “l’epoca del libero scambio e della Destra liberale (1861-1878)” [trad.: the free trade and liberal Right epoch (1861-1878)] [4]; the period “dell’adozione del protezionismo e della depressione (1878-1896)” [trad.: of the protectionism and of the economic depression (1878-1896)] [5]; the years of “crescita rapida giolittiana (1896-1914)” [trad.: the rapid recovery during the Giolitti government (1896-1914)]. [6] I will bear this time division in mind considering the evolution of the Italian economy in an international context so that the link between economic and political history can be determined.

During the 1860s, some Northern-European nations enjoyed a positive economic period thanks to the Industrial Revolution. Italy, on the other hand , “arriva(va) all’unità nazionale in condizioni di arretratezza economica rispetto ai paesi dell’Europa centro-settentrionale” [trad.: was a backward country in comparison with the Northern European countries.] [7]. The Italian gross domestic product per capita was much lower than the GDP of the most well-developed European countries and the Italian balance of trade was almost constantly negative. Italy mostly exported agricultural goods (i.e. olive-oil, citrus fruit, wine) and silk. It imported industrial goods (such as iron, steel, cotton and wool fabrics, boilers, machines) and wheat [8]. This situation was the natural consequence of a “convinzione diffusa che lo sviluppo economico del paese avrebbe dovuto seguire il suo corso <<naturale>>, fondato sull’agricoltura, e che l’industrializzazione non dovesse essere promossa dall’alto” [trad.: widespread belief that the economic development of the country had to follow its <<natural>> way, based on agriculture, and that industrialization was not to be promoted from high quarters.] [9] This vision of the Italian economic development pervaded the entire Italian ruling class during the first period after the national unification. Another important aspect of this negative period was the liberalism of the Right. Indeed, the free-trade policy revealed to be negative for the rising Italian industries. After the national unification, the elimination of the internal customs among the pre-unification states and of the duties toward other countries almost completely destroyed the southern industries and it produced a remarkable reorganization of the northern industries. Indeed, the Italian industries were not able to face other European competitors. So the free trade, introduced by Cavour to obtain French and English support against Austria, became an obstacle for the Italian industrial development, particularly in southern Italy.

This approach of the trade policy deprived Italy of the industrial sector. The lack of industries produced negative effects on the Italian economy. Indeed, the highly developed industrial sector assured a steady economic growth in other European countries. Italy did not grow at the same pace because of wrong political and economic choices (table 4).

At the same time, there was a great increase in agricultural production in the world, particularly in wheat production. This fact caused a general reduction in agricultural prices (table 2). During that period, the Italian agricultural production had a low output and so the reduction in prices risked to seriously jeopardize the survival of many Italian agricultural enterprises.

The joined crisis of both the industrial and the agricultural sectors led a great part of the economic middle class, that had a large representation in Parliament, to ask for a change in the customs tariff. In so doing, they wanted to assure a certain degree of protection to the Italian agricultural production, especially of wheat, as well as the industrial production.

This new view of the trade policy was accepted by the liberal Right too. These new ideas were maintained by Luzzatti, an economist close to the German historical school, who “sostituì nell’ambito della Destra il suo indirizzo a quello di Ferrara” [trad.: substituted in the Right his course with the Ferrara one] [10], who was a promoter of the free-trade during the seventies.

The Italian Parliament, following this new social and political vision, passed a new customs tariff in 1878. There was an increase in the import duties between 10 and 20 per cent. But this new customs tariff was not excessively protective. Indeed, the first aim of the new customs tariff was the equilibrium of the public balance achieved thanks to an increase in public revenue. But the most important aspect is the radical change in the view of the trade policy. There was a change from the liberalism of the Right to the protectionism of the Left, that had won the majority in Parliament. The years that followed the reform of the customs tariff were extremely negative. The Italian economy, that had grown slowly up to 1878, entered in an depression cycle. This negative trend lasted up to the last years of the 19th Century. There were fundamentally four important events that characterized this second post-unification period (1878-1896): 1) the prolonged and accentuated reduction in international prices (table 1), particularly in agricultural prices; 2) the foreign agricultural production (mostly from U.S.A. and Russia) which started to conquer both the European market and the Italian one; 3) the Italian trade policy became markedly protectionist and the public intervention in the economic sector increased; 4) the trade war between Italy and France.

As a consequence, the economic trend highlighted the limitations of the Italian economic development. It “largamente dipendente dall’estero per le innovazioni tecniche e l’immissione di nuovi capitali sul mercato finanziario.” [trad.: largely depended on foreign countries for technological innovations and for the incoming of new capital in the financial markets.][11] For all these reasons, the problems linked to an inadequate development process, started to intensify and to extend.

This negative economic situation was aggravated by wrong political choices. The fall in prices and the increase in agricultural import, particularly in wheat, made it even more difficult for a large number of Italian enterprises to survive. Therefore, a solid social front, created by industrialists and farmers, started to demand a revision of the customs tariff in a more protectionist way. These claims were rapidly adopted by the political class, that counted many farmers, and thus trade policy was modified. The new customs tariff, passed in 1887, was created to allow the “patto infame” [trad.: foul agreement] [12], composed of rich southern landowners and northern industrialists, to preserve the agricultural income and to strengthen the industrial sector sheltered from foreign competition.

But this new trade policy was not drawn up carefully. As a matter of fact, “non fu il risultato di un organico disegno di politica economica, quanto piuttosto una scelta compiuta sotto l’incalzare di problemi urgenti e reali” [trad.: it was not the result of an organic plan of economic policy, but a choice achieved under the pressing of real and urgent problems] [13], such as the reduction of prices and the pressure of foreign competition. Moreover, the structure of the import duties helped only some branches of economy (i.e. the textile industry, iron and steel industry, mechanical industry, chemical industry, cereal production and sugar-refineries), but it was deleterious for the Italian consumers and for the export-oriented productive sectors.

Protectionism became a double-edged weapon since other nations applied measures to retaliate against Italian exports.

The Italian economic situation was further aggravated by the trade war with France, that was the first export-market for Italian agricultural goods. The political background was fundamental in this case too. Indeed, “il modo illogico con cui Crispi si servì del protezionismo doganale come di un’arma essenzialmente politica che comportò i maggiori danni per l’economia italiana” [trad.: it was the illogical way in which Crispi used protectionism, as a political weapon, that caused the greatest damages to the Italian economy] [14]. They thought that France would never have renounced to Italian goods. This belief led Italian politicians to try to obtain better conditions in import-export trade with France. They believed that France would never have imposed high import-duties against Italian goods. That is why Italians did not want to renew the bilateral treaty which, until 1887, had made trading with France very profitable. The relationship between Italy and France started to degenerate. In this way they started a thoughtless trade war. The effects of this war were very hard to bear for the Italian economy (table 3) and particularly for the development of Southern Italy as in this area many farmers had invested their money to increase the production of agricultural exports (such as wine, oil, etc…).

Another negative aspect of protectionism was the import duty on wheat. This kind of market-protection greatly damaged Italian consumers, but especially burdened the poor. They were obliged to pay high prices to have wheat or to buy other essential food stuffs, most importantly bread, while abroad the same goods had a lower price thanks to the general increase in international production.

The economic and social situation created by these wrong trade policies quickly caused a radical reconsideration of the protectionist system. In fact, at the end of the 1880s and especially during the 1890s many trade treaties were stipulated to reduce friction between other European countries and to stimulate the recovery of export.

Giolitti was the promoter of this new trade vision. His political conduct managed to give new strength to the Italian economic development. Indeed, “con il 1895 gli anni più critici dell’economia italiana erano passati” [trad.: in 1895 the most critic years for the Italian economy were over] [15] and so Italy entered a long period of rapid development, which lasted approximately twenty years. In this period the Italian economy was characterized by a substantial increase of the development speed in comparison with the previous periods (table 4). The wisest trade policy had a fundamental role in stimulating the economic growth. The basic aim was to reduce some industrial import duties obtaining, as a consequence, a reduction in trade barriers erected by European countries against Italian exports. It is important to underline that the Government was careful not to damage Italian industries by reducing protection. In this scenario the Government continued the support policies to sustain the industrialization that initiated in the eighties.

This positive trend was supported by the growth of international prices. This reversal of the price trend gave an important contribution to the accumulation of more capital in enterprises and so there was an increase in investments that stimulated the economic growth.

The national growth was harmonious for the first time: both the agricultural and the industrial sectors managed to develop vigorously. Notwithstanding this, Italy did not achieve a level of prosperity similar to that achieved by the other industrial countries before the First World War (tables 5 and 6). Indeed, Italy had to bridge a large gap in the productivity of the agricultural sector and moreover the industrial sector was not sufficiently developed.

During this fifty years after the national unification an alight debate among the Italian economists took place. The most important dispute was focused over protectionism. On the one hand, we find the free traders, who had opposed the revision of the customs tariff passed in 1878 and in 1887, and on the other hand, there were supporters of the protectionist system.

Ferrara, De Viti de Marco, Pantaleoni, Pareto, Einaudi will be remembered in history as promoters of the free-trade. They tried with enthusiasm to support Cavour’s free trade policy. They maintained the uselessness of the duties, they underlined the economic distortions caused by protectionism and they thought that the import duties were only the result of a part-claim. Hence, the duties did not pursue the interest of the whole nation, but only of a set of interests.

Their claims clashed with the ones of other renowned economists such as Luzzatti, Zorli, Stringher, Colajanni and Nitti. These economists maintained that higher import duties were indispensable in order to promote the development of the rising Italian industries and to improve the farmers’ economic conditions. According to them, free trade would have cause a deterioration of the national economic conditions and impoverished the living conditions for many, as the Italian productive system was not able to face the great vigor of other nations.

Even during the Giolitti period, there was much conflict among Italian economists. At the time Luigi Einaudi was the most important economist. He was a liberal who, with all his authority, tried to inform against the economic distortion caused by the wheat import-duty. He tried to attract the attention of the poorest social classes over this problem because it was precisely the poor who severely suffered the negative consequence caused by the duties. It was, indeed, unique in the political history of those years, for Liberals to obtain the Socialists’ support to help reach this goal.


1.1 Emigration

We must bear in mind that the contrast among economists, that was a reflection of the social division, was also seen in the analysis of one of the most important social phenomena which represented the end of the nineteenth-century: emigration.

Italy gave “al fenomeno emigratorio il contributo quantitativo più imponente” [trad.: to the migration phenomenon the most substantial contribution] [16], even if it later became an emigration nation in comparison with other European areas.

It gave a major contribution to emigration because the economic crisis was wide and extended. This caused big migratory fluxes from all the Italian regions. But it is important to underline that the most relevant emigration fluxes were registered in Southern Italy.

The places of destination were initially the Northern European countries, but at the beginning of the new century these fluxes were especially directed toward North and South America.

There were two different schools of thought, even on this phenomenon, which divided the economists. On the one hand the Liberals, above all Einaudi, who thought that emigration had to be free to express itself because it was a natural event caused by the natural movement of the productivity factors. On the other hand, there were “vincolisti”, economists who wanted more emigration control. They did not ask for a direct State intervention to reduce emigration, but they asked for the creation of public institutions which would provide useful information for emigrants. In so doing, emigrants would know where to go in order to find a job abroad, for example. But vincolisti fundamentally wanted the Government to eliminate abuse suffered by Italian emigrants during their journeys.

While the economists studied this phenomenon, even if they had different points of view, “il governo non si curava granché dell’emigrazione e quasi la incoraggiò.” [trad.: the Government not only neglected emigration, but, on the contrary, encouraged it] [17].

Indeed, in this way the emigration reduced social pressures caused by poor living conditions, in particular in Southern Italy. All the parliamentarian majorities had the same attitude, so much so, that the first measure to administer emigration (The formation of the General Commissariat for emigration) was passed only in 1901 and, objectively, had a limited impact on this phenomenon. So we can say that Italian politicians had proved once again to be careless in analyzing and managing an important social problem.

In conclusion, we can rightly say that the initial relation between Italy and Globalization was ill administered and thus did not encourage national development. In fact, the long period of economic stagnation, problems related to trade, poor living conditions of a large part of the population, the backward situation of the productive system before the First World War and the intense emigration fluxes is all evidence of the ill-administered relation between Italy and Globalization.


2. XX – XXI century

“Il concetto di globalizzazione […] è andato imponendosi negli anni ottanta e novanta del XX secolo.” [trad.: The concept of globalization became popular during eighties and nineties of the twentieth-century] [18]. During these two decades trading among nations has increased sensibly and the interdependence among nations has risen. Today the internal shocks of a country are factors of instability for geographically distant nations. In this second paragraph, I will discuss the performance of the Italian economy in this complex international background starting from 1983 when, after two oil shocks, a new positive economic cycle began.

It is important to remember that even if there was an economic recovery, the public balance continued to register huge deficits. Indeed, Italy is the only European nation that did not manage to control the growth of the public expenditure during that flourishing economic period. As time went by high public deficits followed which led to an accumulation of a big National Debt either in absolute value or in relation to GDP (tables 7, 8 and 9). Moreover, a big part of the public expenditure depended on “misure a sostegno dell’industria e dei lavoratori disoccupati, a generosi miglioramenti nel sistema pensionistico e, più in generale, a un’accelerazione di tutte le componenti di spesa corrente.” [trad.: enterprise subsides, on support measures for the unemployed, on generous improvement of the social security system and, in general, on an increase of the components of all the primary spending] [19]. It is well-known that this type of public expenditure does not help support economic growth in a medium-long term. This kind of expenditure does not produce positive externalities which, on the contrary, characterize public investments.

The Governments often had to issue state bonds in order to finance these expenditure. But in so doing the savings of the Italians were taken up by the public system to be used for so unproductive expenses, instead of feeding the development of the private economic sector.

In addition, there was another inadequate political vision, governments did not manage, or did not want, to follow the economic rigour set up by the Italian Central Bank. This economic institution decided to undertake the way of the economic stability. Indeed, it wanted to reduce the inflation rate and to eliminate the devaluation of the Lira using high interest rates (we must bear in mind that the Italian monetary dumping was a recurrent phenomenon during seventies). During the eighties they applied a tight monetary policy and a loose fiscal policy at the same time and, as a consequence, the high interest rates raised the National Debt and its cost.

A considerable standstill in the technological development of the entire nation was added to political errors (table 10). A considerable amount of researches, carried out during those years, shows that Italy was the industrial country which focused most of its interest on basic transformation industries among OECD and European nations [20]. The limitations of this type of productive specialization started to emerge during the eighties. Other industrial countries exploited the fact that their firms were bigger and more competitive and thus started to upgrade the technology of their goods. In this kind of global background Italian entrepreneurs “non si offrivano altre alternative se non di farsi largo nei settori a bassa intensità di capitale e tecnologia. Cioè quelli lasciati progressivamente liberi dai paesi europei.” [trad.: could only get ahead in low intensity technological and capital sectors. These were the sectors progressively abandoned by other European countries.] [21] Indeed, the big Italian companies retired from competitive sectors to extend their presence in traditional and/or not so competitive sectors. At the same time, small and medium companies were anchored to the production of labour intensive goods (mostly, textile, clothing and shoe industry). The difficulty to face markets and to produce more competitive goods convinced Italian companies, especially the bigger ones, to start a long phase of reorganization based on cost reduction obtained thanks to dismissals. These dismissals made the unemployment rate rise from 5-6% during the early years of eighties, to 10% at the end of that same decade.

Italian politicians continued to take no interest in the economic distortion in spite of the obvious, chronic and macroscopic problems at the beginning of the nineties. The annual goals of the public balance were never achieved and the unemployment rate continued to grow. Italian exports were less competitive because the real Lira exchange had been getting stronger for a decade because of the high inflation rate compared to other industrial countries.

“Tutti questi nodi sono venuti al pettine agli inizi degli anni ’90, nel momento in cui la globalizzazione è diventata una realtà non più eludibile, l’apertura degli spazi europei, una decisione politica inesorabile, l’ammontare del debito pubblico sempre più insostenibile, e comunque non più incrementabile. Insomma, quando non è stato più possibile compensare la mancanza di riforme con palliativi di varia natura.” [trad.: The day of reckoning arrived at the beginning of the nineties, when Globalization became an ineluctable reality, when the opening of the European areas became an inexorable political decision, when the amount of the National Debt became more and more unsustainable and however could not be further increased. In conclusion, it become impossible to made up for the lack of economic reforms with different kinds of palliatives.] [22] Thus Italy had to face a “crisi multipla” [trad.: multiple crises] [23] in 1992: economic, financial, social and political at the same time.

The Lira was subjected to big speculation and so the Italian Central Bank had to abandon the attempt to stabilize the exchange. The Lira was devaluated and the decision to withdraw from the European Monetary System was taken, allowing the free fluctuation of the exchange.

A generalized lack of trust hit Italian politicians during the same period. This was the consequence of the judicial proceedings that involved almost all the Italian politicians.

These events made the Italians and Italian politicians more aware of the fact that it was impossible to continue with the same economic policy of the previous years.

For all these reasons, a radical change of the economic policy was a natural event.

In 1992, a long and great process of economic reformation started.

Thanks to the new economic policy, it was possible to achieve some important goals: the reduction of the inflation rate; the reduction of annual deficits; a gradual reduction of the National Debt in percentage of GDP; the achievement of the targets established with the Maastricht treaty.

Many economists and politicians did not believe that Italy would have been capable of venturing on such a serious and long term economic reformation in order to achieve virtuous results in only few years. The achievement of very ambitious aims was made possible due to the political will and zeal of the entire nation.

The entrepreneurial situation was very critical at the beginning of the 1990s too. Italian enterprises were even more exposed to the competition of European enterprises after the start of the European Common Market in 1992. Moreover, a growing international interrelation made other countries, especially the countries in the Far East (i.e. China, India, South Chorea), more competitive. This situation further revealed the limitations of the Italian industrial development. An industrial system bases on traditional production, which spends little on Research and Development (table 10), that does not have big multinationals and that achieves good results thanks to small and medium enterprises, is destined to draw toward an economic downfall.

The Italian decline is caused by two different international economic phenomena. On the one hand, the more developed countries make head way faster on the path to innovation. Indeed, these countries abandoned or are abandoning the traditional industrial sectors. The present evolution will transform these old industrial countries into advanced nations based on highly technological production. While Italy continues to focus on traditional goods even today.

On the other hand, Italy suffers and it will suffer an attack from the bottom. The facility in reproducing the traditional made in Italy goods exposes the Italian industrial system to strong competition from emerging countries.

There has been a loss of competitiveness ever since the European currency revaluated, in 2002. That is why the Italian enterprises, that tried to conquer new markets outside Europe with low prices, went into a harsh crisis.

This type of economic background is undoubtedly worrying.

The present difficulties of the Italy System are confirmed by international studies too. For example, the last analysis on competitiveness of the World Economic Forum (2004) Italy was in forty-seventh place. Italy lost twenty-one positions only in three years, showing that the Italian situation has deteriorated more and more, especially during the last years.

By the light of these events and data we can assert that the entire Italian national system has not been able to follow the trends of the international development and is in great difficulty.

Reforms and changes are usually achieved too slowly in Italy. All the necessary measures to help Italy become a more competitive and attractive country must be applied if we want to improve this economic outlook. The right formulas to better the economic situation are well-known and the economists have pointed them out for years: the need to improve the material and technological infrastructures; to increase the public and private expenditure on Research and Development; to make the Public Administration more productive; to support high-standard student training; to differentiate Italian production by investing on quality and design, and to support the dimensional growth of small-medium enterprises.

But these aims are not yet a matter of primary importance for Italian politicians. If they continue to adopt half-measure solutions, the industrial crisis first and eventually the economic decline will be inevitable.


2.1 Immigration

The migration fluxes have also been an important aspect of the Italian social life during the last decades. But it is important to specify that during this period, unlike at the end of the nineteenth-century, Italy has become a land of immigration.“L’inversione di tendenza del bilancio migratorio si è manifestata nel corso degli anni ’70 nei paesi dell’Europa meridionale.” [trad.: There was an inversion of the migration trend in Southern European countries during the seventies.] [24] So, at the same time, Italy too changed from an exodus to a landing-place. Since that moment, immigration in Italy has risen more and more and today it has become a serious social problem.

Italy achieved a high level of prosperity during the seventies and this started to attract people from the poorest countries of the Earth. But even in this case, political action has been considerably slow in facing immigration. Indeed, the first immigration law was only passed in 1986, many years after the beginning of the constant and rising immigration flux. But another important aspect of this phenomenon is that many other immigration measures succeeded one another during the following years. Other four different immigration laws were passed in fifteen years (the last one was the Bossi-Fini law in 2002). In addition, we must remember that there were five “sanatorie” (amnesties for irregular immigrants) during the same period. This means that immigration was never administrated properly. Moreover, it is important to remember that “the good inspiring principles”, which the Italian politicians refer to when they debate about immigration, are not included in the laws and are often not applied. Indeed, the will to restrain the clandestine fluxes and to assure the immigrants a high level of social integration has been only partly achieved.

But it is important to underline that if immigration is well-managed it will be determining for economic growth. Italy is one of the countries with the lowest birth-rate in the world. Therefore the average age of the Italian population will continue to increase year after year. Research has emphasized that nations with a low birth-rate do not achieve brilliant economic results. Another important aspect of the Italian economic scenery is that many firms, especially in the traditional sectors (i.e. agriculture, building industry and some industrial sectors), have growing difficulties in finding workers. So the immigration of young people is fundamental in order to solve these problems, which weigh heavily on the future of economy.

In conclusion, the real challenge is and will be based on political measures. The most important aim is the creation of a cultural and a social context which can support the integration of immigrants. As a results, Italy would be able to benefit from their contribution in order to achieve a social and economic growth.

The second part of the essay highlights the clear difficulty of the Italy system in exploiting Globalization during the last few years. Politicians and entrepreneurs were not able to understand the evolution of global economy in due time and now the entire nation is suffering the consequences.


3. A comprehensive view over the two periods

After having examined separately the interaction between Italy and Globalization, in this last paragraph I will try to draw a connection between the two periods highlighting their analogies.




We can make two final conclusions at the end of this inter-temporal analysis:

1. We can say that the leading class has lacked the right perspective of the national development in each period examined. This has compromised the possibility to achieve a stronger and more balanced economic growth for long periods.

2. But it would be wrong to give free course to pessimism since the great economic growth during the Giolitti period, that was obtained after forty years of economic stagnation, is proof that it is possible to achieve excellent economic results if the right economic policies are implemented and if the country’s development capacities are enhanced. The past events should serve as an example in order to avoid the country’s further economic decline.


Statistical Appendix

Table 1: International prices (1873-1896)


100 = average prices 1901-1910



1874 139
1875 131
1879 113
1880 12
1887 93
1889 98
1894 86
1896 83

Luzzatto (1960), pag. 347.


Table 2: prices of wheat and maize (1878-1887)

Average annual prices (Italian Lire per quintal)

Year Wheat Maize
1878 33,11 23,57
1881 28,02 19,72
1882 27,07 21,10
1883 24,54 18,12
1884 23,06 15,43
1885 22,78 14,69
1886 22,85 16,07
1887 22,80 14,39

Luzzatto (1960), pag. 411.


Table 3: Import-export France-Italy


Annual averages without noble metals (millions of Italian Lire)


Italian import from France

Italian export to France










Luzzatto (1960), pag. 414.


Table 4: Macro-economic Italian data (1862-1913)

(annual average rate)

  1862-1897 1897-1913
Real GDP 0,7 3,9
Real GDP per capita 0,1 3,1
Population 0,6 0,8
Employment 0,3 0,5
Real productivity* 0,4 3,4
Real investments** 1,2 5,6
Real exportations 2,0 3,2
Real wages 1,3 1,5
*= real GDP/employment; ** gross investments.

Valli (2002), pag. 155.


Table 5: ratio between some nations GDP per capita and Italian GDP per capita

Nation 1897 1913
France 2,1 1,9
Germany 2,0 1,7
Great Britain 2,9 2,1
U.S.A. 3,2 3,2
Fuà (1978), pag. 50.


Table 6: Italian relative position in comparison with the eleven most developed nations

  1860 1880 1910
Agriculture 10 10 10
Industry 9-10 9 9
Romano (1991), pag. 366.


Table 7: National Debt - GDP ratios

  1980 1985 1990
Italy 59,0 82,3 106,4
France 37,3 38,6 40,2
Germany 32,8 42,5 43,4
Great Britain 54,1 58,9 39,3
U.S.A. 37,7 48,9 55,7
Japan 52,0 67,0 66,0
Verzichelli (1999), pag. 57.


Table 8: Macro-economic Italian data (1983-1992).





1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992
CPI (in percent) 14,7 10,8 9,2 5,9 4,7 5 6,3 6,5 6,3 5,3
Overall balance* -10,5 -11,5 -12,3 -11,4 -11,0 -10,7 -9,8 -11,8 -11,7 -10,7
Primary balance* -3,1 -3,5 -4,5 -3,1 -3,2 -2,8 -1,1 -1,3 0,2 2,0
Interests* 7,4 8,0 7,8 8,3 7,8 7,9 8,8 10,5 11,9 12,6
Gross Debt* 70,8 76,3 82,7 86,5 90,6 92,9 95,8 98,5 100,6 107,7
Visco (2004), pag. 41.*in percent of GDP


Table 9: Macro-economic Italian data (1993-2002).

  1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
CPI (in percent) 4,6 4,1 5,2 4 2 2 1,7 2,5 2,7 2,5
Overall balance* -10,3 -9,3 -7,6 -7,1 -2,7 -2,8 -1,8 -1,7 -2,2 -2,3
Primary balance* 2,8 2,1 3,9 4,4 6,7 5,2 5 5 4,1 3,3
Interests* 13,0 11,4 11,5 11,5 9,4 8 6,7 6,5 6,3 5,7
Gross Debt* 118,2 124,3 123,8 122,7 120,2 116,4 114,6 110,5 109,8 106,7
Visco (2004), pag. 40-41. *in percent of GDP


Table 10: expenditure on Research and Development; technology exportations.

Nations Expenditure on R&D in % of GDP (1987-1997)A Expenditure on R&D in % of GDP (2001)B Ratio between high technology exportations and the exported goods A
Italy 1,1 1,07 11
UnitedKigdom 2,0 1,89 29
Germany 2,4 2,51 18
France 2,3 2,23 22
Belgium 1,6 2,17 11
Denmark 2,0 2,4 19
Austria 1,5 1,9 12
Spain 0,9 0,96 10
Portugal 0,6 0,84 33
Greece 0,5 0,64 5
Japan 2,8 3,06 30
USA 2,6 2,74 32
South Korea 2,8 - 33
A: Valli (2002), pag. 164; B: Bersani e Letta (2004),pag. 74.


[1] Sen (2001).

[2] Rossi (2000), pag. 145.

[3] Toniolo (2004), pag. 8.

[4] Dewerpe (1991), pag. 13.

[5] Ibidem.

[6] Ibidem.

[7] Toniolo (1978), pag. 4.

[8] See Romani (1982), Statistical appendix.

[9] Castronovo (1975), pag. 90.

[10] Cardini (1981), pag. 33.

[11] Castronovo (1975), pag. 7.

[12] Romano (1991), pag. 372.

[13] Castronovo (1975), pag. 100.

[14] Ivi, pag. 108.

[15] Ivi, pag. 128.

[16] Dell’Orefice (1978), pag. 22.

[17] Smith (1997), pag. 288.

[18] Valli (2002), pag. 59.

[19] Bruni and Micossi (1992), pag. 252.

[20] See Natale and Benigni (1992), pag. 243.

[21] De Cecco (2004), pag. 193.

[22] D’Amato (2004), pag. 10.

[23] Sylos Labini (1993), pag. 180.

[24] Golini and Misiti (1992), pag. 189.


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