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Railways and manufacturing productivity in Italy after unification

Nicola Pontarollo () and Roberto Ricciuti ()

Journal of Regional Science, 2020, vol. 60, issue 4, 775-800

Abstract: This paper contributes to the debate on the effects of transport infrastructure endowment on productivity by adding a historical perspective. This allows us to address the issue in a proving ground where the effects of the existing stock of infrastructure are negligible. At the time of unification, the Kingdom of Italy initiated a large infrastructure project to build railways. We find that railways had a positive effect on manufacturing productivity over the period 1871–1911. Railways also had strong spillover effects in neighboring provinces so that provinces that started with a higher endowment of railways benefited more than those who were newly endowed.

Date: 2020
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https://doi.org/10.1111/jors.12484

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