Regional convergence in Italy, 1891-2001: Testing human and social capital

Emanuele Felice

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)


    The article aims to present and discuss estimates of levels of human and social capital in Italy's regions over the long term, i. e., roughly from the second half of the nineteenth century up to the present day. The results are linked to newly available evidence for regional value added in order to begin to form an explanatory hypothesis of long-term regional inequality in Italy: convergence in value added per capita is tested in light of the neoclassical exogenous growth approach, which incorporates human capital and social capital as conditioning variables into a long-term production function. In contrast with conventional wisdom (e. g. Putnam 1993), we find that social capital was not a significant predictor of economic growth in post-Unification Italy: It grew in importance only in the last decades. Conversely, human capital was more important in the first half of the twentieth century. Results suggest that there was not one single conditioning variable over the long run, thus supporting the view that, in different periods, conditioning variables can be determined by technological regimes. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)267-306
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


    • Convergence
    • Human capital
    • Italy
    • Regions
    • Social capital


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