Based on a newly-available large set of historical national accounts, this paper revisits the main features of economic growth and cycles in Italy for the post-Unification period 1861–2011. Alongside the structural changes in growth dynamics, themain sources of output and productivity growth are identified. As regards the analysis of the underlying cyclical component, a business cycle chronology is first established and then both the specific patterns of individual cycles and the co-movements of output with keymacroeconomic variables are investigated. In the 150 years since its political Unification, Italy’s economic growth was mainly propelled by consumption and investments, whereas on the supply side the industry and services sectors were by far the main contributors, also because of the positive effect of labour reallocation to nonfarm activities. Over the same period, Italy experienced approximately 20 business cycles of varying duration and amplitude. Output fluctuations were dominated by the short-term variability of agricultural production before World War II and by fluctuations of the industry sector thereafter. The cyclical behaviour exhibited by aggregate demand components conforms quite well to that evidenced in the standard international business cycle literature, although some exceptions arise in the pre-World War II years.
Growth and cycles of the Italian economy since 1861: the new evidence / Clementi, F.; Gallegati, Marco; Gallegati, Mauro. - In: ITALIAN ECONOMIC JOURNAL. - ISSN 2199-322X. - STAMPA. - 1:1(2015), pp. 25-59. [10.1007/s40797-014-0005-0]