Industrial Productivity in Europe
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Industrial Productivity in Europe

Growth and Crisis

Edited by Matilde Mas and Robert Stehrer

This book analyzes growth at the total economy and industry level from an international perspective, providing unique cross-country comparisons. The authors focus on the EU-25 countries but also include the US, Japan and Korea. The chapters explore growth patterns from a long-run perspective, although greater attention is paid to the period of expansion from 1995–2007 and the post 2008 period of crisis. Each contribution builds on a common methodology based on a detailed database providing a high degree of disaggregation with respect to the industries and factors accounting for growth. The role played by ICT is expertly emphasized, in particular the different paths followed in the US and the EU.
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Chapter 6: Spain and Italy: Catching-up and Falling Behind – Two Different Tales of Productivity Slowdown

Matilde Mas, Carlo Milana and Lorenzo Serrano


Matilde Mas, Carlo Milana and Lorenzo Serrano 6.1 INTRODUCTION Spain and Italy are two Southern European countries that have a great deal in common, even though their points of departure were very different. Italy’s entrance into modernity can be traced back to the end of World War II, while in Spain the 1936–39 Civil War – and the dark years that followed it – delayed its moving forward until the 1960s. This chapter is devoted to analysing the path followed by these two countries in the long run, allowing the convergence process that has taken place between the two countries over the last years to be put into perspective. Spain was, in 1970, an isolated country in the international scene, with a dictator in power. On the other hand, Italy was one of the founding countries of the present European Union (EU), being a democracy since the end of World War II. However, they had many points in common: their agricultural sector had a large weight in the aggregate; they had similar industrial specialization, with an important presence of traditional sectors such as textiles, footwear and furniture; both countries had a source of wealth in the tourist sector; in addition, they also shared low activity rates, especially women’s, and low schooling levels, and so on. At that time, Spanish economists looked to Italy as the example to follow. Thirty years later, things had changed dramatically, with Spain almost catching-up with Italian per capita income. Italy was the first of the Southern...

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