Land inequality in Italy in 1940: the new picture Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2016

start page

  • 303

end page

  • 350


  • 3

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0393-3415


  • This paper is a study of landownership inequality in Italy around 1940. Relying on the extraordinary information collected by an Italian post-war inquiry, the paper reviews the data quality requirements faced by any serious measure of actual landownership concentration. Such inquiry is therefore exploited in producing a new dataset at a highly disaggregated geographical level on Italian land inequality before the post-World War II land reform. I find, partly contrary to the conventional wisdom, that the highest levels of landownership inequality were found in three areas: a relatively limited part of the Po Valley in the irrigated plains of western Lombardy, most of Central Italy from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian sea and an area of Southern latifundia (an imaginary belt stretching from Foggia to central Sicily, through southern Basilicata and eastern Calabria). At the regional level, landownership was most heavily concentrated in Tuscany, while land distribution was most egalitarian in Liguria.