This book gives a full account of the economic and social history of Italy since unification (1860), with an introduction covering the previous period since the Middle Ages. The Economic History of Italy represents a scholarly and authoritative account of Italy's progress from a rural economy to an industrialized nation. The book makes a broad division of the period into three parts: the take-off (1860-1913), the consolidation in the
midst of two wars and a world depression (1914-47), and the great expansion (1948-1990). Professor Zamagni traces the growth of industrialization, and argues that despite several advanced areas Italy only became an industrialized nation after the Second World War, and that during the 1980s the South was still
clearly behind the rest of the country. Zamagni analyses data both from a macroeconomic position, in looking at the growth of the finance sector, or the role of the State, and from a microeconomic position when she draws conclusions from the changing population structure, or from the actions of individual businesses. Professor Zamagni reveals that even though the population more than doubled during this time the level of national income rose 19-fold, to move Italy from a peripheral status in
Europe to a central position as a prosperous country. A central theme of the book is Professor Zamagni's argument that the Italian economy has been successful not by any great individuality of its own but by being flexible enough to incorporate the successes of other countries:
Japan's integrated business network, for example, or Germany's financial structure. She places the industrialization of Italy in the international context by comparing Italy's GDP and other measures of prosperity at different times to the USA, Japan, the UK, France, and Germany. The book is based on original field-work by the author, and the many detailed but small-scale studies existing in Italian. Quantitative trends are described in more than 70 tables of data, while
the book provides appendices containing chronologies of main events in various sectors and biographies.
`Stefano Zamagni, 51, is considered a world expert on economics and recently even became a consultant to the anti-Mafia agency of the Italian government. Considered one of Italy's most brilliant economists.'
Paul Bompard, Times Higher Education Supplement
'a nicely written and stimulating account of the progress of the Italian economy since unification ... As well as serving as an fine synthesis of recent writing in Italian economic historiography, the book also bears witness to the enormous and varied output of its author over the last two decades ... thoughtful and wide-ranging analysis, replete with excellent data ... European economic historians will surely welcome this book with open arms.'
Joseph Harrison, University of Manchester, Economic History Society 1995
`It is a remarkable transformation; the energy of its historiography has matched that of the country's development ... the work is rich in information about the sectoral development of manufacturing, copiously illustrated from the history of major companies. It also deals comprehensively with the convoluted history of the banking sector ... infused with Professor Zamagni's indefatigable and attractive enthusiasm for her subject and seasoned with much
lively personal commentary. It can be highly recommended and should go in several copies on to library shelves.'
`The most welcome translation of Professor Zamagni's Dalla periferia al centro ... makes available to the broader English-speaking community a text that reviews the current literature with unexceptionable thoroughness, and presents even the interpretations that differ from the author's own with admirable fair-mindedness. The publisher andthe author are both to be commended for producing this much-needed book; with
periodic revisions to keep it up to date, it should serve for a generation.'
Journal of Modern Italian Studies
`Detailed and chronologically extended survey of Italy's economic history from unification to the present ... Combining breadth with clarity of presentation and well-balanced judgements, this is an indispensable guide for students of modern Italy and for all those interested in the comparative study of modern economic growth.'
American Historical Review