A Noi! Income Inequality and Italian Fascism: Evidence from Labour and Top Income Shares

Feb 2020 | 177

Authors: Giacomo Gabbuti

A century after Mussolini’s seizure of power, distributive trends during Interwar Italy are only partially known. This paper presents new evidence on inequality, contributing to the ‘classic’ debate on Fascism’s origins and legacy. Labour shares fell dramatically during the Great War, quickly recovered by 1922, and experienced a steady decline during Fascism, reaching a secular minimum in early 1940s. A newly assembled database of fiscal tabulations shows increasing concentration at the top between 1925 and 1936. These findings testify the fundamentally regressive nature of the Fascist regime, revealing significant discontinuity in Italy’s long-run inequality trend.

JEL Codes: B12, D63, J31, N14, N34

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