Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-Run Perspective

53 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2013

See all articles by Giovanni Federico

Giovanni Federico

European University Institute

Nikolaus Wolf

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Humboldt University Berlin - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Date Written: October 25, 2011

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 Classification: F14, N73, N74

Suggested Citation

Federico, Giovanni and Wolf, Nikolaus and Wolf, Nikolaus, Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-Run Perspective (October 25, 2011). Bank of Italy Economic History Working Paper No. 9, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2236714 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2236714

Giovanni Federico (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Badia Fiesolana
Via dei Roccettini 9
I-50016 San Domenico Fiesole, Tuscany 50014
Italy

Nikolaus Wolf

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Humboldt University Berlin - Department of Economics ( email )

Spandauer Strasse 1
Berlin
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/professuren/vwl/wg/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+4420-7852-3512 (Phone)

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