Economic Inequality across Italy and Europe, 1300-1800 (EINITE)


Principal Investigator: Guido Alfani

Dondena Researchers: Francesco Ammannati, Matteo Di Tullio, Roberta Frigeni, Héctor Garcìa Montero, Sergio Sardone, Davide De Franco

Associate Researchers: Fabrice Boudjaaba (CRH; Centre de Recherches Historiques) CNRS/Ecole des Hautes etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France), Carlos Santiago-Caballero (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain), Wouter Ryckbosch (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)


Contract Type: ERC Starting Grant (grant agreement no.: 283802)

Project Funding: 995,400 Euros

Start Date: 1 January 2012

End Date: 31 December 2016


     The aim of EINITE is to clarify the dynamics of economic inequality in Europe from the late Middle Ages through the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Very little data about economic inequality during such an early period is available today and what is usually involves only single years and/or small areas (usually only one city or village).

     This project will change this situation entirely by building an extensive database of economic inequality, mainly of wealth (for which better documentation exists) and focusing on Italy from a wider European perspective. Most of the data will come from new archival research on Medieval and Early Modern sources. While the project will cover systematically the whole of the Italian peninsula, selected areas of Europe will also be researched, starting with England, France, the Low Countries and Spain. Furthermore, published data and existing databases from all over the continent will be collected for comparison.


ENITE activities will be organized around four main research questions:

1. What is the long-term relationship between economic growth and inequality?

This is the main question to which the others are all connected.

2. What were the effects of plagues and other severe mortality crises on property structures?

3. What is the underlying relationship between immigration and urban inequality?

4. How was economic inequality perceived in the past, and how did its perception change over time?


     The project will also help to explain the origin of the property structures and inequality levels on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. Then it will provide information relevant to the ‘Kuznets curve’ debate. Overall the project will lead to a better knowledge of economic inequality in the past, which is also expected to help explain recent developments in inequality levels in Europe and elsewhere.


Please click through for information about


EINITE Publications



Economic Inequality Network (EI-Net)

EI Meta-WP Series












Last updated 02 December 2013 - 12:47:41