Michelangelo Vasta

Michelangelo Vasta
Università degli Studi di Siena | UNISI · Department of Economics and Statistics

D.Phil - University of Oxford

About

90
Publications
9,431
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829
Citations
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October 2000 - January 2016
Università degli Studi di Siena
Position
  • Head of Department

Publications

Publications (90)
Article
Since the early years of the 21st century, economists have started to look for the historical roots of current economic outcomes. In this article, we deal with this new approach (called persistence studies), as represented by the 75 articles published in ten leading economics journals since 2001. We outline the key features (issues, period, geograp...
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A recent stream of literature argues that economic history is expanding its aim of looking for the historical roots of current outcomes (persistence studies) and that it is increasingly integrating with economics. This paper tests these claims with a new database of about 2500 articles published from 2001 to 2018 in the top five economic history jo...
Article
The dynamics of economic inequality and its relationship with economic growth in the preindustrial world is increasingly attracting the attention of both economists and economic historians. In this paper, we tackle this theme by introducing new estimates of the labor share in five major European countries (England, France, Holland, Spain, and Portu...
Article
This paper traces the history of the first 25 years of the European Economic History Review (EREH) comparing its initial agenda with its actual publication record and measuring its success with citation data. We rely on a database of all articles published in the EREH and in the four other top field journals from 1997 to 2020. The EREH has been a g...
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A correction to this paper to make it open access has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11698-021-00227-4
Article
This article provides a review of the different streams of literature that have contributed, since the seminal work by Alexander Gerschenkron, to the issue on firms’ financing. We show that, although the traditional dichotomy between bank and stock market is out of date, the Gerschenkronian thesis is still debated. We find that many microeconomic i...
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In this paper, we estimate series of the skill premium for Italy during the early stages of the industrialization with a refined version of the regression approach originally introduced by Clark (J Polit Econ 113(6):1307–1340, 2005). We compute series for the whole country as well as separate series for macro-regions and for construction and manufa...
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This paper explores the evolution of the human capital gender gap in Liberal Italy (1871 – 1921). First, we show that Italy lagged some 50 years behind more advanced countries like France, Prussia and the UK, and that the regional divide in gendered literacy was unparalleled in the rest of Europe. Next, we test whether the shift to primary-school c...
Article
Despite the relevance of bankruptcy law for a number of key issues regarding business functioning and organization, little is known about the features and evolution of these legal institutions over time and space. This paper starts to fill this gap in current knowledge by analyzing a new data set providing consistent information about key features...
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The growing appeal of the long-run perspective among economists and the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Conrad and Meyer article (1958), which marked the official beginning of the Cliometric Revolution, have attracted a lot of interest on economic history. This paper explores the long-term development of economic history by analysing...
Article
This paper uses the ‘access orders’ paradigm developed by North, Wallis, and Weingast [(2009). Violence and social order: A conceptual framework for interpreting recorded human history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press] to analyse the case of the Italian North–South economic divide. In line with their framework, we collect and discuss several...
Article
This article shows that a shift towards a more centralized school system can benefit countries that are characterized by poor levels of human capital and large regional disparities in education. In 1911, Italy moved from a fully decentralized primary school system towards centralization through the Daneo‐Credaro Reform. The design of the Reform all...
Article
In 1864, the patent law of the Kingdom of Sardinia was extended to the newly created Kingdom of Italy. In this paper, on the basis of a new dataset containing all Italian patents granted over the period 1855-1872, we examine the formative years of this crucial institutional change. Firstly, we map the characteristics of the inventors before and aft...
Article
The origins of the Italian North-South divide have always been controversial. We fill this gap by estimating a new dataset of real wages (Allen 2001; Allen et al. 2011) from Unification (1861) to WWI. Italy was very poor throughout the period, with a modest improvement since the late nineteenth century. This improvement started in the Northwest ind...
Article
This paper shows that a shift towards a more centralized school system can benefit countries characterized by poor levels of human capital and large regional disparities in education. In 1911, Italy moved from a fully decentralized primary-school system towards centralisation through the Daneo-Credaro Reform. The Reform design allows us to compare...
Article
This article revisits and reassesses the evolution of Italian capitalism during the so called “economic miracle” (1950–1973). Using original sources, it analyzes how the average small, private firm, representing the vast majority of Italian businesses at the time, struggled to fully develop, grow, and modernize. The paper identifies the main source...
Article
In this article, we employ a "quantitative" prosopographical approach to study the nature and the determinants of entrepreneurial success in Italy during the XIX-XX centuries. Our main source is the Biographical Dictionary of Italian Entrepreneurs, which contains very detailed biographies of 608 major Italian entrepreneurs. Our findings indicate th...
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This paper analyses the evolution of the corporate networks in two Latin economies – Argentina and Italy – from 1913 to 1990 by using the interlocking directorates’ technique. The paper focuses on six benchmark years for which the largest 25 banks and 100 non-financial companies have been selected in both countries. After showing a descriptive stat...
Article
In this paper we provide a systematic appraisal of the spatial patterns of inventive activity in Italy in the period 1861-1913 using patent data. First, we introduce a characterization of the spatial distribution of patents and of its evolution over time. Second, we assess the connection between different forms of human capital and patent intensity...
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Until the banking reform in 1936, banks and industrial companies in Italy were strongly intertwined (both in terms of ownership and interlocking directorates). Using Imita.db—a large dataset containing data on over 300,000 directors of Italian joint-stock companies—this paper analyzes what would have happened to the Italian corporate network in the...
Article
The impact of protection on economic growth has enjoyed a revival in recent times, with the publication of a number of comparative quantitative papers. They all share a common weakness: they measure protection as the ratio of custom revenues to import value, which biases results if demand for imports is not perfectly inelastic. In this paper, we sh...
Article
This article analyses the dynamics of business groups (BG) formation and diffusion in Italy in the twentieth century. It shows that BGs is not an organisational form which characterizes only developing countries or economies in their very early stage of development. Indeed, in its evolution from a peripheral country to one of the most advanced econ...
Article
In this paper we provide a survey of the long term evolution of the Italian “National innovation system” since the unification. . First we provide a broad reconstruction of long term trends by examining a wide range of quantitative indicators of science and technological activities in comparative perspective. Second, on the basis of this quantitati...
Article
In the century and half since its 1861 unification, Italy has left the periphery of the world economy and reached a level of wealth close to that of industrialized core Western countries. Since the 1990s, however, the process of globalization has exposed the weakness of the Italian productive system, and the country’s economic performance has been...
Article
This article, by using both a qualitative and quantitative approach, focuses on large business groups (BGs) in Italy. It provides a methodology of analysis which aims at re-constructing the boundaries and the relevance of BGs in a national economy in the long-run, identifying a country-specific taxonomy of both their forms and the rationales (logic...
Article
This article examines the phenomenon of independent invention in Italy during the Liberal Age (1861–1913). It makes use of a new dataset comprising all patents granted in Italy in five benchmark years: 1864–5, 1881, 1891, 1902, and 1911. The following exercises are carried out. First, an examination is undertaken of the shares of independent, corpo...
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Abstract: This paper analyses the structure of Italian capitalism during the post-WWII economic miracle by focusing on the governance and management of small and medium firms. Using innovative sources, the paper shows that poorly conceived and/or enforced laws and legislation created incentive for business owners to be stockholders rather than stak...
Article
The article presents and discusses estimates of social and economic indicators for Italy and its regions in benchmark years roughly from Unification to the present day: life expectancy, education, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at purchasing power parity, and the new Human Development Index (HDI). A broad interpretative hypothesis, based o...
Article
Until the Banking reform in 1936, banks and industrial companies in Italy were strongly intertwined (both in terms on ownership and interlocking directorates). Using Imita.db – a large a dataset containing data on over 300,000 directors of Italian joint stock companies – this paper analyses what would have happened to the Italian corporate network...
Article
Full-text available
The main objective of this paper is to shed light on the Italian entrepreneurship between the beginning of the Second industrial revolution and the end of the XX century. It is based on a new dataset concerning the profiles of 386 entrepreneurs. The results are twofold: first, by proposing an empirical based-taxonomy of Italian entrepreneurs not ex...
Chapter
This chapter stems from a multiyear project on the history of Italian entrepreneurship based on a new data set of about 600 entrepreneurial bibliographies collected in the Biographical Dictionary of Italian Entrepreneurs1. The project has so far already produced two contributions, which were finalized to open the black box of Italian entrepreneursh...
Article
This article analyzes the structure of the Italian corporate network in the decade that followed the end of the “Golden Age” (1972–83), when the transition from the technological trajectory of the second to that of the third industrial revolution began. The article is based on a large dataset, Imita.db, which contains data on more than thirty-eight...
Article
This article analyzes the structure of the Italian corporate network in the decade that followed the end of the “ Golden Age ” (1972 – 83), when the transition from the technological trajectory of the second to that of the third industrial revolution began. The article is based on a large dataset, Imita.db, which contains data on more than thirty-e...
Article
The specialization in exporting primary products is frequently deemed harmful for long-run development, because it increases volatility of terms of trade and thus the number and frequency of macroeconomic shocks. One would expect modern economic growth to solve the problem by changing the composition of trade. This paper tests this hypothesis with...
Article
The paper focuses on the evolution of the capacity of Italian goods to reach international markets from the time of unification (1861) up to the present day (2009). It presents a wide range of new data series that present both the general trends of macroeconomic data related to the evolution of Italian foreign trade focusing, in particular, on the...
Book
This book provides a wide-ranging analysis of change in size and nature of Italian firms, and thus a unique and fascinating perspective on the evolution of one of the major industrial economies of the 20th century. An example of business history as it ought to be done - Giovanni Federico, European University Institute, Italy. © Andrea Colli and Mic...
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For the most part of the last century the role of State owned enterprises was probably more pronounced, continuous and prolonged in Italy than elsewhere in the West. This was the response to the fact that Italian economic growth had long been penalized by structural frailties such as a narrow internal market, a shortage of capital, financial weakne...
Article
This article analyses the functioning of Italian insolvency laws and practices, in particular their role in the selection and relaunch of viable firms. The article investigates the period between the 1920s and the 1970s, and focuses on joint-stock companies. Using comparative data on the number of cases, we show that in Italy firms mainly used the...
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This paper is the first product of an ongoing research on the determinants and the role of entrepreneurship in Italian economic development. Its primary aim is the creation of a data-set of Italian entrepreneurs for the period encompassed between the Unification of the Kingdom (1861) and the end of the XXth century. The main source of the research...
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The paper explores the structure of the Italian corporate network by focusing on the relationships between financial - banks, insurances and holdings - and industrial firms in Italy during the period 1952-83 through the analysis of the interlocks that existed between them. By an interlock is meant the link created between two firms when an induvidu...
Article
In a strictly diachronic perspective, Ana Millán Gasca's book traces the history of both science and technology from the preindustrial era to the present. Its peculiarity is reflected in an approach focused on the relationship between the engineer and the problems met in production management. From this point of view, the engineer plays a key role...
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The pessimistic flavour of the Human Development Reports appears to be in contradiction with their own numbers as developing countries fare comparatively better in human development than in per capita GDP terms. This paper attempts to bridge this gap by providing a new, ‘improved’ human development index [IHDI], informed by welfare economics. The I...
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During the Twentieth century, Italian joint-stock companies remained relatively small and tended to die young. This fact constrained the development of the full potential of the Italian industry, as small-dimensioned companies struggled to implement the most efficient technologies and managerial techniques. This paper analyses this problem by looki...
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A caccia di informazioni accurate sui «fantasmi». Una proposta per l’analisi del fabbisogno professionale e formativo - In the debate on unemployment in European countries virtually all observers and policy makers agree on the utility of active labour policies, even if a clear proof of their effectiveness is still missing. This general agreement co...
Book
Evolution of Italian enterprises is based on the paradigm structure-behavior-performance and identifies a number of long run regularities in industrial structure in the 20th century. This is the basis on which historiography develops, in general it is critical of the Italian experience, of financial capitalism, of the narrowness of the market, of m...
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this article explores the structure of the italian capitalist system by focusing on the relationships between financial firms banks, insurance and holding companies and industrial companies in italy during the period 1952 72 through the analysis of the interlocks that existed between them. by an interlock is meant the link created between two firms...
Article
Tecnologia, salari e capitale umano: i risultati di una indagine sul campo (di Alberto Baccini e Michelangelo Vasta) - ABSTRACT: This paper documents how plant-level wages, occupational mix, and workforce education vary with the adoption of new factory automation technologies, such as programmable controllers and numerically-controlled machines, in...
Article
Caratteristiche industriali e occupazionali del terzo settore: il caso della Toscana (di Alberto Baccini, Nicola Sciclone e Michelangelo Vasta) - ABSTRACT: This study arises out of the need to deepen - with a special regard to Tuscany - the many analysis cues that the nonprofit sector offers both in a theoretic and in an operating way (i.e., its pu...
Article
Full-text available
The paper focuses on the evolution of the capacity of Italian goods to reach international markets from the Unification (1861) up to now. In so doing we provide a wide range of new series on the topic. On one hand we present the general trends of macroeconomic data related to trade, on the other hand we provide the evolution of Italian foreign trad...
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Full-text available
Premessa Il tema dell'economia sommersa è uno dei punti critici del dibattito at-tuale sulle politiche economiche e di welfare in Italia, e più in generale in tutti i paesi industrializzati. Tra le ragioni di questo interesse vi so-no in primo luogo le conseguenze che l'espansione dell'economia sommersa ha a livello di erosione della base imponibil...

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Project (1)
Project
The project explores the links connecting literacy and inputs into primary schooling, the determinants of education and primary-school policy across Italy's NUTS-2 and NUTS-3 regions from c. 1861 to 1941. New aspects being assessed include school efficiency at the local level and a novel dataset on schooling at the municipal level (1911 - 1931).