In common with other advanced economies, Italy has witnessed a decline in the importance of manufacturing and its consequent effect on both total national employment and the GDP. Studies on the process of deindustrialization were first undertaken in the Seventies in Great Britain and the United States. Economists, sociologists and historians have analyzed this phenomenon from a variety of perspectives and provided many relevant observations on its economic, social, political and geographic aspects. This paper presents a description of deindustrialization from a quantitative viewpoint before proceeding to examine various contributions, both from Italy and elsewhere, that have provided historians with a variety of tools for studying the topic. The deindustrialization of Italy, which is still in progress, has covered quite a lengthy period of economic stagnation. Finally, the paper discusses the historiographical debate on decline and deindustrialization, and discusses several significant works on the topic that adopt different analytical perspectives, paying particular attention to the study of economic history.
Keywords: Deindustrialization, globalization, Italy, economic decline, privatizations, big and small firms.