Between constraints and opportunities: big Italian business and autarky, 1934-1943

Bertilorenzi, M., Cerretano, V. and Perugini, M. (2022) Between constraints and opportunities: big Italian business and autarky, 1934-1943. Rivista di storica economica, 2022(3), pp. 303-336. (doi: 10.1410/104414)

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The review of the evolution in the 1930s of some of the country’s most prominent industrial sectors, namely the nitrogen, the aluminium and the man-made fibres industry, serves here the purpose of assessing the impact of autarky on technology and long-term industrial development. One suggestion of this article is that the received narrative has overestimated military and ideological considerations in economic self-sufficiency, downplaying, first, the weight of persistent balance of payments problems in its development and, second, the pragmatic nature of autarky. One important conclusion here is also that, as with importsubstitution policies in emerging economies in the post-World War II era, autarky offered a shelter behind which big Italian enterprises could fast develop a large domestic market, per se the sine qua non for massive new investment, technological innovation and greater productivity. Whether those firms were able to seize that unique chance depended on many variables, including the sector where they operated, their management and their bargaining power vis-à-vis the regime.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cerretano, Dr Valerio
Authors: Bertilorenzi, M., Cerretano, V., and Perugini, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Rivista di storica economica
Publisher:Il Mulino
ISSN (Online):2612-1026
Published Online:07 July 2022
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