Von Thünen south of the Alps: access to markets and interwar Italian agriculture Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2014

start page

  • 107

end page

  • 143


  • 2


  • 18

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1361-4916

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1474-0044


  • This paper sheds new light on the agricultural side of the Italian regional divide from an economic geography perspective, following a Von Thünen approach. The central hypothesis is that the development of the nonagricultural economy in the Northern cities drove the location of agricultural output and inputs during the interwar years. A new database on Italian agriculture around 1930 fully confirms the key role of access to domestic markets in shaping agricultural activity. Thus, the causes of Southern agriculture falling behind are revealed: it is not very surprising that an agricultural divergence joined an already ongoing industrial divergence during a period in which international markets collapsed. It was the growth of Northern industry that led to the growth of Northern agriculture, and not vice versa. © 2014 The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Historical Economics Society.