No. 683 - Italian economic growth and the North-South gap: historical trends and future projectionsin light of the recent demographic scenarios

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by Marta De Philippis, Andrea Locatelli, Giulio Papini and Roberto TorriniApril 2022

This paper presents a historical account of economic trends in Italy and its two macro-regions, the Centre and North and the South, since the 1950s, and outlines several growth scenarios based on recent demographic projections and alternative hypotheses on future labour market and productivity paths.

We document a progressive slowdown in GDP, particularly in the South, driven by productivity and, more recently, also by employment and capital accumulation dynamics. Going forward, given the reduction in the working age population, without improvements in productivity and labour force participation, the Italian economy - the southern one in particular - is projected to shrink from the second half of the current decade. Despite the unfavourable demographic trends, robust growth rates could still be achieved if productivity grew at the same rate as in other European countries and assuming a catching-up process of between the South and the Centre and North of the country.

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