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Reconstructing The Past: Italy's Historical National Accounts, 1861-1913

Fenoaltea, Stefano (2020): Reconstructing The Past: Italy's Historical National Accounts, 1861-1913.

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Abstract

This paper summarizes the evolution of Italy’s historical national accounts, and presents an updated reconstruction of the production side, the expenditure side, and the composition of investment from Unification to the Great War. On the production side, the major improvements stem from the recovery of evidence on harvest fluctuations, which increases short-term volatility, and the removal of gross errors in the estimates for the services, which sharply reduces pre-War GDP. The expenditure-side disaggregation reaffirms the Kuznets- cycle path of fixed investment; the cut in GDP yields a cut in consumption, but does not imply a lower standard of living.

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