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22 July 2022

How Italy has endured nearly two lost decades

Italian living standards are still below their 2006 level.

By Ben Walker

Mario Draghi has resigned as prime minister of Italy. His government, which consisted of a slew of political parties from the right and left, fell apart after the populist Five Star Movement and the far-right League withdrew their support.

Draghi, a technocrat and former president of the European Central Bank, was prime minister for only a year and five months; he was Italy’s sixth prime minister in the last ten years and the ninth in the last 20.

The economic stagnation that his country has endured is visible across any chosen metric. Living standards have yet to recover to their pre-2008 financial crash level and, as of 2020, GDP per capita was below where it was in 2006. Productivity has been stagnant and there have been stubbornly high rates of youth unemployment and student dropouts.

Draghi’s predecessor, Giuseppe Conte, lasted only two years and 57 days, and Paolo Gentiloni, Conte’s predecessor, lasted a year and 171 days.

[See also: Italy's economy needs a technocrat prime minister but voters are weary of rule by experts]

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