The Effect of the Italian Unification on the Comparative Regional Development in Literacy, 1821-1911

Ciccarelli CarloWeisdorf Jacob
CEIS Research Paper
This paper provides the first ever diachronic homogenous estimates of literacy rates in the Italian provinces during the period 1821-1911, by gender. The estimates exploit the age structure information reported in the population censuses of 1881 and 1911 to back cast literacy rates to the early 19th century. Territorial differences were already huge in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, with Southern regions registering extremely low levels and essentially no change before the unification of 1861. Furthermore, the early rise of literacy rates for Northern women suggests a dimension of the North-South gap that significantly the political unification of the country.

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Number: 392
Keywords: Human capital, literacy, regional economics, Italy
JEL codes: J24, R11, N13
Volume: 14
Issue: 11
Date: Monday, July 25, 2016
Revision Date: Monday, July 25, 2016