National and Regional Patterns of Convergence and Divergence
Edited by John Adams and Francesco Pigliaru
Page 291 12. Growth and sectoral dynamics in the Italian regions Raffaele Paci and Francesco Pigliaru 12.1 INTRODUCTION* This chapter deals with one of the most studied cases of regional inequality. Regional differentials in per capita income and labour productivity in Italy have attracted the attention of economists from all over the world since the 1950s, when Myrdal (1957) used it as an example of cumulative causation (among others, Eckaus, 1961; Chenery, 1962; Lutz, 1962). The characterizing feature of the Italian case is that all measures of the economic gap between the average Southern region and the rest of the country have shown it to be remarkably persistent. Moreover, we do not yet have a full understanding of what is generating this persistence. The recent renewed attention to regional datasets spurred by the literature on convergence (Barro and SalaiMartin, 1995) has further stimulated a longstanding discussion. First, we provide a comprehensive description of the pattern of regional inequality in Italy. The principal reason for doing this is that a new dataset on the main regional variables for the period 1951–94 was made available recently as the result of a major revision and update of the CRENoS database (see the appendix for more details). In this first part of the chapter we use descriptive statistics and panel regression analysis of the kind widely used in the convergence debate, so that direct comparison with other national cases is possible. In particular, we have added the national business cycle...
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