Abstract and Keywords
The history of Italy since its unification in 1861 was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the country's integration with European and global commodity markets: foreign trade in the long run grew on average faster than the overall economy. Italy's comparative advantage changed fundamentally, from a high concentration of a few trading partners and a handful of rather simple commodities, into a wide diversification of trading partners and more sophisticated commodities. The chapter uses a new long-term database on Italian foreign trade at a high level of disaggregation to document and analyze these changes. The chapter concludes with an assessment of Italy's prospects from a historical perspective.
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