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Most of my research activity has dealt with Economic and business history focusing mainly on Italian economic development since Unification (1861). A first field of research lies on technical change which has been analysed, through the use of patents as proxy, by focusing on innovative capacity and the evolution of intellectual property institution. A second field of research has dealt with human capital as main factor of Italian economic development. In the field of business history, my attention has been paid on single firm and particularly on the structure of Italian capitalistic system (ownership structure, sectoral analysis, relationship between banks and firms,  performance, entrepreneurship). In this field, I run, since many years, a large data set IMITA.db contains information on balance sheet (about 200.000) and on board of directors (about 300.000 directors) of Italian companies (1900-1982).


My fields of research are:

  • the role of science and technology in the long run economic growth processes;
  • dynamics of Italian trade in the long run perspective;
  • effects of legislation on Italian capitalism in the long run;
  • entrepreneurship as a factor of Italian economic development;
  • governance system in Italian corporate network;
  • well being and regional divide. 

My ongoing projects are:

  • the history of Economic history (a bibliometric approach)
  • wages and skills in the Italian economy
  • Italian innovative capabilities in the long-run perspectives;
  • impact of legislation on Italian capitalism in the long run;
  • dynamics of Italian foreign trade in the long run;
  • determinants of entrepreneurship in historical perspective;
  • well being and regional divide.

My ongoing funded projects are:

  • 2019- PRIN 2017, Lost highway: skills, technology and trade in Italian economic growth, 1815-2018 (with G. Federico, A. Nuvolari and M.E. Virgillito): 602.000 Euro

My working paper

My data projects



Piazza San Francesco 7
53100 Siena, ITALY

Tel. +39 0577 232219
Ricevimento (uff. 318): martedì 10-12 Email: michelangelo.vasta(at)unisi.it