Convergence or Divergence of Italian Regions?
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Publication date: 2017-04-30
GNPJE 2017;288(2):101–130
The paper seeks to determine the occurrence of either convergence or divergence processes between Italian regions and to establish whether these processes are permanent or periodical in character. To achieve this aim, the authors use the following methods: analysis of the literature, clustering analysis, estimation of dynamic panel data models, and other statistical methods. The research is based on data downloaded from the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat). Four variables were taken into consideration: GDP per capita, investments per capita, gross wages per worker, and the unemployment rate. The study covered the period from 2000 to 2013, including a breakdown into two sub-periods: 2000-2007 (before the global financial crisis) and 2008-2013 (after the start of the crisis). The authors have demonstrated that both convergence and divergence processes occur between Italian regions, but they take place mainly within macro-regions and refer to individual variables. Only in the case of the unemployment rate is it possible to speak of convergence as a general trend that occurs both nationwide and within macroregions. However, according to the authors, this trend may largely be due to factors such as labor migration from the south to the north of Italy, combined with hidden unemployment in agriculture and tourism. Moreover, official statistics omit unemployed persons seeking employment in the country’s southern regions. If the existing processes continue within Italy’s macroregions, they will likely increase the development gap between the Mezzogiorno area and the northern and central parts of the country.