Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Agricultural policy and long-run development: evidence from Mussolini's Battle for Grain

Carillo, Mario Francesco (2018): Agricultural policy and long-run development: evidence from Mussolini's Battle for Grain.

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Abstract

This paper explores the effect of agricultural policies on industrialization and economic development over the long-run. I analyze the differential effect of the \textit{Battle for Grain}, implemented by the Italian Fascist regime to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production, on the development path across areas of Italy. Employing time variation, along with cross-sectional variation in the suitability of land for the implementation of the advanced wheat production technologies, I find that the policy had unintended positive effects on industrialization and economic prosperity which persisted until the contemporary period. Furthermore, I find that the positive effect of the \textit{Battle for Grain} on human capital accumulation was instrumental in this process, suggesting that the complementarity between human capital and agricultural technology may be a critical mechanism through which agricultural productivity may enhance the development of non-agricultural sectors.

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