« Back to all events

Land Inequality and Agriculture in Interwar Italy

Dates:
  • Fri 05 Oct 2012 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2012-10-05 10:00 2012-10-05 12:00 Europe/Paris Land Inequality and Agriculture in Interwar Italy

This thesis presents a re-interpretation of the role played by latifundia in Italian economic history based on a new theory of the effects of land inequality, namely that high landownership concentration leads to market power in rural factor markets in the presence of restrictions to factor mobility. According to such a view, market power had basically distributive effects and did not imply any technical inefficiency in agricultural production. Thus, while severely distorting factor returns in latifundia areas, land inequality is unlikely to have caused Southern backwardness, at least from a static point of view. The model is fully confirmed by a new database on land inequality, output and factor prices encompassing all local labour markets of Italy at the end of the 1930s. From a technical (TFP) point of view, indeed, Southern agriculture in interwar years can not be considered more inefficient than the Northern one, which used much higher quantities of both capital and labour per hectare. Thus, at the present stage of the research, a factor-lead accumulation process seems to be a better candidate for the North-South agricultural divergence that happened during the first half of the twentieth century. A mechanism in the spirit of Von Thünen linking output and input intensity, as well as rents, to access to markets fully accounts for such a process and is strongly confirmed by the spatial patterns of Italian agriculture around 1930.

Cappella, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Cappella, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

This thesis presents a re-interpretation of the role played by latifundia in Italian economic history based on a new theory of the effects of land inequality, namely that high landownership concentration leads to market power in rural factor markets in the presence of restrictions to factor mobility. According to such a view, market power had basically distributive effects and did not imply any technical inefficiency in agricultural production. Thus, while severely distorting factor returns in latifundia areas, land inequality is unlikely to have caused Southern backwardness, at least from a static point of view. The model is fully confirmed by a new database on land inequality, output and factor prices encompassing all local labour markets of Italy at the end of the 1930s. From a technical (TFP) point of view, indeed, Southern agriculture in interwar years can not be considered more inefficient than the Northern one, which used much higher quantities of both capital and labour per hectare. Thus, at the present stage of the research, a factor-lead accumulation process seems to be a better candidate for the North-South agricultural divergence that happened during the first half of the twentieth century. A mechanism in the spirit of Von Thünen linking output and input intensity, as well as rents, to access to markets fully accounts for such a process and is strongly confirmed by the spatial patterns of Italian agriculture around 1930.


Location:
Cappella, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Prof. Bartolomé Yun Casalilla (EUI and Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla)
Prof. Nikolaus Wolf (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
Prof. Juan Carmona Pidal (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Supervisor:
Prof. Giovanni Federico

Contact:
Roberta Saccon - Send a mail

Defendant:
Pablo Martinelli (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017