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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Between 1861 and 2011, Italy's GDP per person multiplied by about twelve times. An initially backward country, Italy converged to the productivity leaders in 1898-1992, whereas between 1861 and 1896, and again between 1992 and 2011, Italy's economic growth was weaker than that of the main advanced countries. Drawing also on the main results of the research presented in the rest of the book, Chapter 1 outlines Italy's initial backwardness, the causes of poor economic performance in the thirty-odd years after unification, and the features and reasons for Italy's secular convergence to the productivity leaders. The final part is devoted to a discussion, in a comparative perspective, of the causes of the country's slow growth in the early twenty-first century, arguing that, while some of the previous growth factors lost momentum from the 1990s onward, Italy's problems are mostly to be found in the inability by firms and institutions to adapt to the conditions of the international economy during the so-called "second globalization".

Keywords: backwardness, convergence, divergence, long-term economic growth, first globalization, second globalization

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