Economia Politica

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 373–398 | Cite as

Dynamics of urban growth: Italy, 1951–2011

  • Antonio AccetturoEmail author
  • Michele Cascarano
  • Guido de Blasio
Original Paper


This paper presents some evidence on the dynamics of population across Italian locations (municipalities and LLMs) over the period 1951–2011. We find that population shifted from initially smaller to relatively larger locations. The growth rate of very large urban areas was particularly intense in the post-war period, while it became slower in the last two decades. Population dynamics in the post-war period are related to structural change away from agriculture; sectoral diversification and—to a lesser extent—human capital represent an important determinant of city growth in the last two decades.


R2 L16 

JEL Classification

Gibrat law Population divergence Structural change 



We wish to thank the Editor (Federico Revelli), two anonymous referees, Alberto Dalmazzo, Paolo Sestito, and the participants to the Bank of Italy – Urban economics workshop (Rome, December 2015), ERSA 2016, and AIEL 2016 conferences for useful comments. The usual disclaimers apply. Further, the views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Italy.

Supplementary material

40888_2019_155_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (677 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 677 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Accetturo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michele Cascarano
    • 1
  • Guido de Blasio
    • 2
  1. 1.Bank of ItalyTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Bank of ItalyRomeItaly

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