Pork, Infrastructure and Growth: Evidence from the Italian Railway Expansion

72 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2021

See all articles by Roberto Bonfatti

Roberto Bonfatti

University of Padua - Department of Economics

Giovanni Facchini

University of Nottingham

Alexander Tarasov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Gian Luca Tedeschi

University of Padua

Cecilia Testa

University of Nottingham

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

This paper studies the role played by politics in shaping the Italian railway network, and its impact on long-run growth patterns. Examining a large state-planned railway expansion that took place during the second half of the 19th century in a recently unified country, we first study how both national and local political processes shaped the planned railway construction. Exploiting close elections, we show that a state-funded railway line is more likely to be planned for construction where the local representative is aligned with the government. Furthermore, the actual path followed by the railways was shaped by local pork-barreling, with towns supporting winning candidates more likely to see a railway crossing their territory. Finally, we explore the long-run effects of the network expansion on economic development. Employing population and economic censuses for the entire 20th century, we show that politics at a critical juncture played a key role in explaining the long-run evolution of local economies.

JEL Classification: N010, N730, D720

Suggested Citation

Bonfatti, Roberto and Facchini, Giovanni and Tarasov, Alexander and Tedeschi, Gian Luca and Testa, Cecilia, Pork, Infrastructure and Growth: Evidence from the Italian Railway Expansion (2021). CESifo Working Paper No. 9228, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3904530 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3904530

Roberto Bonfatti (Contact Author)

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
Padova, 35123
Italy

Giovanni Facchini

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Alexander Tarasov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Gian Luca Tedeschi

University of Padua ( email )

Via 8 Febbraio
Padova, Vicenza 2-35122
Italy

Cecilia Testa

University of Nottingham

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