About the Blog

The NEP-HIS Blog promotes scientific discussion through a blog format. NEP-HIS is the weekly report from NEP: New Economics Papers responsible for disseminating new working papers in the fields of business, economic and financial History. Among them the Editorial Team selects papers to be discussed in the blog.

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Papers in NEP are exclusively sourced from the digital library RePEc: Research Papers in Economics. A history of NEP is available here. Follow this link for instructions on how to make papers available in NEP.

1 thought on “About the Blog

  1. Deirdre McCloskey

    Emanuele Felice’s work on the North and the Mezzogiorno looks splendid. But I worry. I have long been suspicious of a certain tragic fatalism in (northerners’) talk about The Problem of the South. Carlo Levi would explain to his uncomprehending friends in the 1930s and 1940s eager to use the State to solve “the problem of the South” in Italy, “The State, I said, cannot solve the problem of the South, because the problem which we call by this name is none other than the problem of the State itself.” Rome, not Messina. Among outsiders it comes through in Edward Banfield’s work long ago, and especially in Robert Putnam’s.

    Sicilia and Calabria are now much, much better off than they were a century ago. If the South was a separate country (now, don’t start that!) it would rank among the pretty well-to-do, wouldn’t it? Anyway, the centuries-old insistence on comparing the South with the North is based on . . . what exactly? Both regions have grown smartly since 1950. Anyone who goes to, say, Catania feels she is in a First-World city (she did not feel this in 1959). The deficiencies in human capital were palpable on the old days, of course, but not, it seems, deeply cultural, or else southern Italians in the USA and Brazil and so forth would not have been so successful (one can make the same point about overseas Chinese, Parsis, Old Believers, eccetera). Italian-Americans a generation ago ranked third in educational attainments, after Jews and the Irish. Look at the number of prominent Americans with names ending in vowels. Most of them have grandparents from the South.

    I know that the South is supposed to be a great example of Why Institutions Matter—that was Putnam’s theme. But if so, why has it grown at all? Oh, yes: subsidies from the North. But that can’t account for rising improvements, can it?


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