Dependence, development, growth. Descriptions, concepts, evidence
The first part of the essay is devoted to clarify the notion of economic dependence and its relation to development, as a distinct concept from growth. A distinction between exogeneous and endogenous dependence is proposed and it is shown that, contrary to prevailing opinions, exogenous dependence is not necessarily detrimental to economic development. Indeed, it may support development. Whether this happens or not depends on a series of conditions. The second part of this essay is focused on Italy’s Mezzogiorno and applies to it the conceptual tools developed in the first part. Available data on the net trasfer of financial resources from the North to the South are analyzed and interpreted. This leads to criticize some common ideas on the role and the features of these transfers and to the conclusion that such transfers have been declining in recent years with negative consequences on the dependence of the South.