Post-Unification Italy was part of a wider world within which men and money circulated freely; it developed to the extent that those mobile resources chose to locate on its soil. The ecomy's cyclical movements reflected conditions in international financial markets, and were little affected by domestic policies. State intervention restricted the internal and international mobility of goods, and limited Italy's development: it kept the ecomy weak, reduced Italy's weight in the comity of nations, and paved the way for the frustrations and adventurism that would plunge the twentieth century into world war.
Stefano Fenoaltea obtained his PhD in economics at Harvard University, where he studied under Alexander Gerschenkron and John R. Meyer. He has taught extensively at leading colleges and universities in the United States, and is now serving in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Rome (Tor Vergata). He has published widely in academic journals, and is best known for his work on slavery, medieval agriculture, and Italian development. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a consultant to the Istituto Centrale di Statistica and to the Bank of Italy; he is listed in Who's Who in the World.