A great deal of new quantitative research has been produced over the last three decades which has radically changed the received interpretation of Italian economic development. Against this backdrop, the Bank of Italy, Istat and the University of Rome "Tor Vergata", together with academics from other institutions, developed a project to estimate a new historical national accounts time series. The reconstruction covers the 150 years following the political unification of Italy and is based on the most up-to-date results in the literature. It provides estimates of supply and uses at constant and at current prices. In this chapter a general picture of the new time series is drawn. Historically significant periods are taken into consideration, using them as case studies in order to illustrate some features of the new data, both technical and substantial. A detailed methodological account is given in the appendices.
From the 1880s till 1930, the global grain trade was regulated primarily by the London Corn Trade Association, a private body entirely controlled by core market insiders. It had three defining contributions: it produced grain standards, which transformed cereals into commodities; it arbitrated disputes between traders; and it drafted some sixty standard contracts that were minutely adjusted to both the trading rules in exporting countries and to standard contracts for shipping, insurance, and trade credit. These transnational contractual vehicles drastically simplified the successive operations of international trade along the whole value chain. Critically, while the contracts were governed by English law and protected by the London courts, they entirely avoided any relations with other national legal orders or jurisdictions. Conflicts of laws, a perennial source of transaction costs in a global economy, were by and large eschewed by means of a private market order that was both local and global.
The transformational recession in Russia was one of the deepest and longest in the postcommunist countries. Various explanations of the transformational recession are discussed, and an alternative explanation is suggested. The first reason for the output collapse is the adverse supply shock after deregulation of prices associated with greater distortions in the industrial structure and external trade patterns on the eve of the transition. The second factor is the adverse supply shock caused by the collapse of state and nonstate institutions in the late 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in chaotic transformation through crisis management. The third factor is poor economic policies, which included bad macroeconomic policy and import substitution industrial policy. Finally, the speed of reforms (economic liberalization) initially affected performance negatively because enterprises were forced to restructure faster than they possibly could (due to limited investment potential) but improved performance when the economy recovered.