The large body of new statistical data that became available after the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification permits a re-examination of Italy’s economic growth. Up-to-date estimates and re-interpretations of Italy’s gdp from 1861 to 2011—at both the national and regional levels—in the light of institutional and technological changes within an international context find that Italy’s economic growth was substantial early in the twentieth century but slackened considerably since the 1990s, despite successes in long-term performance. Analysis suggests that the country is on the road to irreversible decline. Part of the problem lies in the failure of the southern regions to converge economically with the more highly developed central and northern regions.

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