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Rethinking the take-off: the role of services in the new economic history of Italy (1861–1951)

Emanuele Felice ()
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Emanuele Felice: Università “G. D’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara

Cliometrica, 2019, vol. 13, issue 3, No 3, 405-442

Abstract: Abstract The article discusses the new series of services GDP for Italy (1861–1951), which have been incorporated in the Italian historical accounts. Three main results emerge. First, the new historical estimates of services appear to be more reliable than the previous ones, published by Istat (Indagine statistica sullo sviluppo del reddito nazionale dell’Italia dal 1861 al 1956. Annali di Statistica, Istat, Rome, 1957). Second, the differences between the estimates of services make up for most of the differences observed between the old GDP series and the new one, and they have a significant impact on the performance of the Italian economy, also in international comparisons. Third, cointegration analysis suggests the presence of a significant break at the end of the nineteenth century, in line with industry: since then, the traditional services lagged behind, while the innovative ones (and since the Great War also social/collective services) shared the same rising trend as industry. This result confirms the idea of a «great transformation» of the Italian economy, first pioneered by Gerschenkron, which began at the end of the nineteenth century arguably as a consequence of institutional and political changes.

Keywords: Italy; Services; Industry; Time series; National accounts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N13 N14 N73 N74 O14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s11698-018-0179-z

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