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Reconstruction Aid, Public Infrastructure, and Economic Development: The Case of the Marshall Plan in Italy (WP-21-54)

Michela Giorcelli and Nicola Bianchi

The Marshall Plan (1948–1952) was the largest aid transfer in history. This paper estimates its effects on Italy’s postwar economic development. It exploits differences between Italian provinces in the value of reconstruction grants they received. Provinces that could modernize more their infrastructure experienced higher increases in agricultural production, especially for perishable crops. In the same provinces, we observe larger investments in labor-saving machines, the entry of more firms into the industrial sector, and a larger expansion of the industrial and service workforce.

Michela Giorcelli, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles

Nicola Bianchi, Assistant Professor of Strategy and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

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