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OECD Better Life Index
Together they employ 3, people.
Olivetti still exists, but these days it is a small office machinery company. Its former factories, jewels of 20th-century industrial architecture, have been refashioned as museums. Ivrea offers a window into a nationwide economic reversal that has few real parallels in the developed world. That is worse than any other country in Europe or any of the 34 rich and developing nations in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development.
On each one of these counts, Italy has regressed since the s. More than , Italian manufacturers have closed shop and 1. The short-term snapshot looks a little better. Home ownership and household wealth are among the highest in the OECD and private debt levels are relatively low.
Yet all the fundamentals that drive the economy are headed in the wrong direction. Unless it starts growing again, Rome will be unable to cut that debt — at the risk of default and exit from the euro. Like Italy, Ivrea has sunk over the last two decades. Nestled under snow-capped mountains north of Turin, the town is not poor.
4 Reasons Why Italy's Economy Is Such a Disaster
Many of its 24, inhabitants are affluent, just as Italy remains the ninth largest economy in the world. Average bank deposits are among the highest in the country. But thousands of young people have left the town, cutting its population by a quarter since the s. The average age in Ivrea is now As Olivetti crumbled it spawned a few small- and medium-sized businesses. But a crushing mix of high taxes and red tape makes it increasingly hard to operate, entrepreneurs in Ivrea say. Its birth rate is the tenth-lowest of countries and territories ranked by the OECD. Little more than half its working-age population has a job, and public and private investments as a proportion of economic output in were at the lowest level since World War Two, according to the Bank of Italy.
Investment in research and technology, an important factor for growth, is about half the level of France and Germany as a proportion of economic output and a third of the level of Sweden, according to the OECD. Company size is one of the problems. Even Fiat, which this year announced it was moving its administrative headquarters to the Netherlands and its tax base to Britain, is not the economic driver it used to be. Fewer cars are produced in Italy than in Spain, Britain, or even Slovakia.
The average Italian firm has just four workers and only about one in has more than 50, according to statistics agency Istat. Faced with increased competition since the s, they lack economies of scale or the resources to invest in new technologies. Italian products have also gone downmarket.
Top Employers Italy 2018
Italy specialises in medium and low-tech sectors like clothing and machine tools that offer little growth potential. High-tech goods like computers, electronics and pharmaceuticals make up only six percent of its exports, compared with an EU average of 16 percent, according to EU statistics agency Eurostat. Computers are rarely used in high schools. Italy is the only EU country whose total factor productivity has declined since the start of the century, according to the European Commission.
That has hit living standards. Today, it is just 80 percent of those countries. After decades of political upheaval, corruption and repeated financial crises, Argentina is now 26th, just below Belgium, which has a quarter of its population. Camillo Olivetti founded the firm in to make classy typewriters. Its first personal computer, unveiled in , was used by NASA to help plan the Apollo 11 moon landing.