No. 35 - Regional Growth with Spatial Dependence: a Case Study on Early Italian Industrialization

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by Carlo Ciccarelli and Stefano FachinJanuary 2016

This paper estimates a conditional β-convergence model of labor productivity growth in Italy’s manufacturing industry during 1871-1911, accounting for spatial dependence. The empirical evidence is based on a recent set of data at provincial (NUTS 3) level on manufacturing value added at 1911 prices, and a new set of data on human and social capital, political participation, and infrastructures. By focusing on a country and a time when the agglomeration forces and spillover effects advocated by the new economic geography were only starting to operate, we can investigate a particularly interesting case study. Our results suggest that human capital, a cooperative culture, and initial productivity in neighboring provinces can explain much of the geographical variability of productivity growth in manufacturing in nineteenth-century Italy.