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The legacy of 1969? Essays on the historical roots of Italy’s economic decline: human capital, internal migration and manufacturing firms, 1960s-2000s

Ramazzotti, Andrea (2023) The legacy of 1969? Essays on the historical roots of Italy’s economic decline: human capital, internal migration and manufacturing firms, 1960s-2000s. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004534


Italy’s relative decline for the past three decades has prompted a growing literature aiming to identify structural weaknesses and historical causes. The thesis focuses on the influence of wage-setting institutions on human capital accumulation, internal migration and manufacturing establishments since the 1960s. The overarching argument of the thesis identifies a critical juncture around the ‘Hot Autumn’ of 1969, when labour unions first adopted an egalitarian stance in collective bargaining. The effects on industrial wages fundamentally altered incentives for households and firms, with long-lasting consequences. The first chapter of the thesis positions the argument with respect to the historical background and within the relevant literature. The following substantive chapters test each a different self-contained hypothesis, following the paper-style format. One chapter explores the impact of the wage hike on post-compulsory education, identifying a temporary increase in early school leaving and a shift in the composition of school choices. The following chapter studies the effect of equalizing nominal minimum wages between geographical areas on internal migration, which contributed to originate today’s spatial misallocation and excessive unemployment in low-income areas. A third chapter explores the impact on firms’ creation in the manufacturing sector, providing evidence that the wage hike influenced the number of establishments and their size distribution. Throughout the thesis, arguments are supported by newly digitized and/or harmonized data from a range of primary sources, extending coverage further back in time than previously possible and opening opportunities for further historical research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2023 Andrea Ramazzotti
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Supervisor: Bakker, Gerben and Postel-Vinay, Natacha

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