150 Years of Growth, 150 Years of Gaps: Development, Transformations, Policies
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This paper provides a first reading of the macroeconomic data and the main social indicators taken from the SVIMEZ volume 150 anni di statistiche italiane: Nord e Sud. 1861-2011, Il Mulino, 2011. Divided into three parts, the first one aims at rebuilding long-term trends in 150 years, in which the creation and persistence of the big question of territorial gap is highlighted, although it does not represent an unchanging feature of the Italian history - because of the nearly level playing field and the presence of a long convergence period from the post-World War II to the 70's crisis. The analysis of such a gap - and the consideration of development factors and conditions as well - certainly does not contradict the incredible path to growth experienced by the Country as a whole in its 150 years of unitary history, in which also Southern regions legitimately took part. As it is clear in the second part of this paper, changes occurred in this area have dramatically affected both the economic structure and, especially, the social conditions of its inhabitants. Finally, in the third part, we attempt to discuss the role of policies in the evolution of such a gap, trying to highlight how economic and social dynamics, as well as divergence and convergence processes are not at all independent of the choices - made or not - of national economic policy and regional policy for development.