Olivetti, the Marshall Plan, and European growth, 1947-1950

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
Giovanni Zenati, Faculty of History
The Richard King Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 14:10 to 15:00

During the 1950s and 60s, Western Europe experienced what is now called its ‘Golden Age’ of economic performance: twenty years of unprecedented GDP, population, and productivity growth. The Marshall Plan, a $14 billion aid program launched by the U.S. government in the immediate post-war years, has been a central candidate for explaining these phenomena. My dissertation presents a novel explanation of the Marshall Plan’s impact in Italy based on documents obtained from the archives of Olivetti, one of Italy’s most important engineering firms. This analysis highlights the effects international monetary, trade, and credit policy on firm behaviour, from which it may be possible to built a richer understanding of national economic performance.

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