Mattia C. Bertazzini

Towards an Economic History of Italian Colonialism

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This paper describes the evolution of the literature on Italian colonialism from its origins during the colonial period until present. It also provides a brief survey of the historical economics and economic history literature on Africa, with a particular focus on colonial policies. After highlighting a lack of quantitative scholarly work on the economics and economic history of Italian colonialism, the article identifies four areas of research that would improve our general understanding of the Italian colonial phenomenon, its effect on the Italian economy and the post-colonial developmental trajectories of Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, and Ethiopia. Because of the exceptional level of territorial expansion and colonial spending that took place during the fascist era, policies implemented during the 1930s should be the main focus of future research.


  • Italian colonialism
  • Fascism
  • economic history
  • African economic history


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