It may not be an easy task to summarize the features of Italy’s economic growth over the past century and a half in a few pages, but that is the aim of this article. During the past fi fteen years, new research has given the scientifi community a great deal of statistical reconstructions that justify the work carried out in the following pages. We are now able to discuss new national series of the main macroeconomic indicators (gross domestic product [GDP], productivity, labor force), and also consider long-run estimates of regional GDP and changes in living standards and in inequality in the personal distribution of income. In the light of new evidence, an analysis of Italy’s “modern economic growth” allows us not only to identify new “facts” characterizing the country’s history, but also to assess the strength of the main interpretational hypotheses regarding the path that led the Italians “from the periphery to the centre.”
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