The aim of this paper is to review the articles published in the journal L’Industria over the last 30 years, focusing on issues related to industrial policy. Articles published in the journal have both analysed the characteristics of Italian industry and discussed industrial policy implications. Attention has never been exclusively turned to the Italian case: industry in other countries has been considered, not only in Europe but also elsewhere in the world, in Asia and America. Foreign cases are used as examples to follow or as analyses of partners of or markets for Italian firms. Regarding industrial policy, three phases can be identified in this review. The first 10 years (in the 1980s) discussed the “dirigiste” or “interventionist” type of industrial policy, whereby governments directly intervened in markets by command-and-control and by buying also producers. The second decade, that of the 1990s, saw the adoption of a new approach to industrial policy, whereby governments no longer directly intervene in markets but rather induce behaviour by appropriate incentives and, in terms of structural policy, provide the conditions for competitiveness. These phases correspond to the phases of industrial policy implemented in Italy and the EU. The 21st century starts with a new phase of industrial policy, that this paper tries to characterise by looking at the papers published in L’Industria. The main conclusion is that the new industrial policies are still in the process of being defined in the real world, perhaps waiting for industrial economists to provide guidance. Economists and policy-makers writing in the journal stress that in the current context new models have to be built and new solutions have to be suggested. We add that a number of issues has to be examined for solutions to be proposed.
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