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Italy needs more courages to stimulate productivity, experts say

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

10:04, November 22, 2012

ROME, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) - Italian low productivity gains derive from structural weaknesses that need more courageous policies to be overcome, local experts told Xinhua on Wednesday.

According to figures of national statistics institute Istat, productivity in Italy increased by just 0.5 percent each year from 1992 to 2011, contributing to the sluggish performance of the Italian economy over the last decade.

Italy underperforming in productivity for two decades did not surprise Mario Pianta, an author and economic policy professor at the University of Urbino "Carlo Bo."

Pianta, who is also a member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italian Academy of Sciences), noted the Istat figures released on Wednesday are "the obvious latest step in 20 years of Italy's economic history."

In his view, the low gains have roots in the 1990s, when most Italian companies, after experiencing a flourishing development from the 1950s, "missed the modernization process necessary to keep up with the other advanced economies."

"Instead of investing in advanced sectors with a long-term view, they remained anchored in traditional businesses with lower intensity of innovation and research activities," Pianta told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, he said, the decreased interest rates following the introduction of the euro led many firms to shift resources from productive investment to financial investment.

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