Institute for studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed)


The Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed), was born from the transformation of the Institute for Studies on Mediterranean Societies (ISSM) sanctioned by the resolution of the Predisident of the CNR n. 63 of 30 May 2019.
The transformation was necessary to respond better to the need to update the mission of the institute, to better respond to the demand for interdisciplinary research that a complex area such as the Mediterranean required.
The previous institute, in turn, was born from the merger of the three IREM Institutes -Institute for Research on the Mediterranean Economy-, ISEM -Institute for Economic History of the South -and ISFSE -Institute for Studies on Financial Structures and Economic Development- on the basis of decree no. 16016, of 15-10-2001.
The Institute carries out research, development and technology transfer activities and training on issues related to the Mediterranean area. In particular, the Institute's statute covers the following fields of research: the dynamics of local and global socio-economic development; long-term transformations in the management and use of natural resources; productive activities, technological transfers and organizational cultures in a long-term historical perspective; trade, finance and credit in the Modern and Contemporary Age; demographic evolution and migration within the Mediterranean basin; the labour market; public and private institutions in the Modern and Contemporary Age; urban and territorial development policies; economic cooperation between the countries of the Mediterranean basin. The themes of the three Institutes that made up the ISSM concerned themes related to the Mediterranean economy from different points of view: mainly economic, IREM and ISFSE; mainly historical, ISEM. ISMed is an example of a fusion of two approaches - the economic and the historical - which usually coexist without contact within the university faculties in Italy and outside, and aims to further expand to other branches of knowledge (not necessarily humanistic). Despite the fact that the usefulness that can come to the economist from the historical perspective and to the historical one from a more frequent exchange with the economic theory is often stressed, in practice, the two approaches have been for a long time and continue to be distant. The ISMed has as a priority task that of making these two components interact in such a way as to exalt their synergies.

The current research lines of the Institute are summarized as follows:

1. Institutions, Economic Policy and Development

The research aims to define the role of institutions for economic development within the Mediterranean area. Although unitary tendencies cannot be identified, public intervention has played an essential role in promoting economic growth. Its nature and instruments are the unifying trait in the understanding of development and growth, specifically in those sectors, as international trade and investments; education and human capital; health-care and welfare; and institutional development, where public policies have significantly influenced socio-economic actors' behavior.

The approach is diachronic since public intervention will be examined both in its historical evolution and in the present, allowing for significant comparisons in time and space. Different materials and methods will be used: archival documentation, social science literatures and debates from various eras, interviews, and questionnaires. Research findings will be published through reports, seminars, and journal articles nationally and internationally.

Group Leader: Maria Rosaria Carli Comprised of: Giovanni Lombardi, Idamaria Fusco, Maurizio Lupo, Antonio Marra, Mita Marra, Vincenzo Romano, Bruno Venditto.

Main Topics: Markets and enterprises Political economy
Local development and regional development Economic cooperation Labor market (and migratory phenomena) Formation of the human capital
Institutional development

2. Capital formation, credit, finance and growth.
The main objective of this research project is to reconstruct the transformation processes that have characterized the economic growth of the different Mediterranean regions since the XVIth century. This objective is founded on the micro and macro analysis of some factors that have contributed to the economic growth and development. The research approach will identify the possible connections between the financial sector and the economic system analysed both from a theoretical and a practical point of view, through case-studies. Emphasis, therefore, will be placed on the role of financial capital (public-private) in its various forms and on how it has been formed over time and transformed in relation to the historical-economic events of each individual area of the two sides of the Mediterranean. The final step will be the construction of general economic equilibrium models in order to study the combined evolution of the activities of the financial and economic sectors in artificial economies subject to imperfections in the capital market.

A closer study of the role of the economic operators in their multiple aspects in a real economy will be carried out by reconstructing the characteristics, the motivations and the typology of the settlements, the paths of the goods and their allocation, the types of institutional financing, the migration phenomena, which, even though generated by differentiated pay scales, are much more complex given the complexity of real processes that regulate such flows. It will be possible, therefore, to trace a Mediterranean geography that will permit the understanding of the course and the know-how of the economic operators in the long term.

Group Leader: Paola Avallone Comprised of: Salvatore Capasso, Immacolata Caruso, Daniela Ciccolella, Costanza D' Elia, Idamaria Fusco, Giovanni Lombardi, Giuseppe Russo, Tiziana Vitolo.

Main topics
Growth in the historical perspective Capital, techniques and productivity Private and public finance Economic operators

3. Environment and Resources

Despite the different thematic, chronological, and methodological approaches, this research line presents a number of homogeneous elements that justify its existence.

First, the categories of "environment" and "natural resources" are key variables to understand the mechanisms of operation and development of economic and social systems.

Second, the multidisciplinary approach combines history and social sciences. A common objective of the research line consists of reconstructing the transformation process that has shaped Mediterranean environmental systems, especially during the 1800's and the 1900's. The research will identify the ways through which structural characters (eco-
system equilibriums, installations, practice of use and forms of resources management ) have been combined with historical dynamics (colonialism, modernization of processes, national and local politics for the territory, movements of the population) to grasp regional differences (between the North and South shores): Where and to what extent the transformation processes have produced environmental exploitation, or phenomena of dissipation and destruction of natural resources (pollution, abandonment, destruction of the coasts, hydro-geological upset etc.).

A second objective of the line pertains to the analysis of the contribution of the "natural capital", as a tangible factor of development, and the study of its participation in productive process. In what forms have the natural resources participated in the expansion and growth of the various sub-areas? In what ways have they represented an independent opportunity, an endogenous occasion for growth? Where and to what extent have they provided the reason for violent conflicts?
At present, the research is underway in the following areas: renewable resources (waters, seas, forests), non renewable resources (gas, coal, oil), hydro geological upset, urban environment, environmental associations and the politics for territory.

Group Leader: Gabriella Corona
Comprised of: Marco Armiero, Eugenia Ferragina, Walter Palmieri, Roberta Varriale

Main topics Resources endowment and management Energy and energy consumption Society-environment
Resources and population Urbanization and sunstainability

4. North and South: measuring the growth

A central topic of the ISSM'research is the process of economic divergence that has taken place over the past two centuries among Mediterranean economies. Despite economic, social, institutional, cultural, and religious differences that also existed in previous eras, it is true that only during the Modern Growth age were these differences exasperated, creating a fracture that has been deepening over time.

The North and South (a proxy for economic growth) research line present the following characteristic: first, an empirical focus that consists of gathering statistical data on the Mediterranean economies; second, the methodological approach relies on quantitative instruments of analysis.

Although quantitative elements on the economies of the Mediterranean are abundant, the need exists to make data comparable across countries so as to add to a reliable statistical database for those who conduct research on the Mediterranean area. Thanks to this statistical database it will possible to evaluate such topics as the socio-economic cohesion, the political economic, the political integration, and the institutional evolution of the region. For this purpose, quantitative data will be elaborated and updated periodically on the contemporary Mediterranean economies. The objective is to make statistical series available through a published report and on the Institute's web site. The research will also elaborate on the past series of major economic indicators, such as demographic change, aggregated GDP, per capita GDP, GDP structure and employment. For the more important indicators, researchers will construct several time series. The attempt to work with past series of major statistical indicators will demand a reflection on the quantitative methods and on the technical statistics that are being currently used.
Group Leader: Paolo Malanima Comprised of: All members of the Institute participate in this research line.
Main topics Collection and elaboration of macroeconomic indicators across Mediterranean countries with a perspective of long run.

The former three Institutes, which currently belong to ISSM, have, in the course of 2002, organized two cycles of seminars with both Italian and foreign scholars:
1: The regional disparities in the Mediterranean: innovation, development and learning.

Luigi Di Comite, University of Bari
International Migrations: the experience of the EU in the 90's
10 January 2002

Roberto Zoboli, IDSE-CNR, Milan Infrastructures and development in the local systems 24 January 2002

Riccardo Leoncini, IDSE-CNR, Milan Evolution of the industrial sectors in Europe 31 January 2002

Andrea De Panizza-Stefania Rossetti, ISTAT, Rome Regional formative system and job demands of the enterprises in Southern Italy: measures of effort, efficiency, effectiveness and matching supply-
21 February 2002

Stefano Usai, University of Sassari External space and local economic growth
28 February 2002

Giulio Cainelli, IDSE-CNR, Milan District group. Theory and empirical evidence
7 March 2002

Simona Iammarino, University La Sapienza of Rome Technological Activities and multinational enterprises in the European regions 21 March 2002

Giuseppe Pace, ISSM-CNR, Naples Policy of industrial localization : a comparative analysis between Italy and Israel 11 April 2002

Eugene Corti, University Federico II of Naples Regional policy for the development of entrepreneurial ideas in the university system of Campania 24 April 2002

Carl Tesauro, Ipiget, Naples Internet: Reality and impacts vs. potentiality and scenarios
9 May 2002

Riccardo Cappellin, University of Tor Vergata of Rome The spacial context of the technological development and the regional policy innovation 23 May 2002

Immacolata Caruso, ISSM-CNR, Naples Relational Systems in the Mediterranean between global and local
13 June 2002

Margherita Scarlato, University Federico II of Naples Submerged sector and emersion policy in Southern Italy: the role of uncertainty 27 June 2002

2: Nature, history and the sciences. Methodologies and researches:
Ennio Cocca, Institute of Biochemistry of Proteine-CNR, Naples The possible environmental risks deriving from the use of transgenic organisms 21 March 2002

Franz-Josef Brüggemeier, Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg A Natures fit for industry. Environmental history in Germany 22 May 2002

Marco Armiero, ISSM-CNR, Naples The Italian environmental historiography ;
15 May 2002

Gabriella Corona, ISSM-CNRNaples The environmental issue: theoretical and historiography implications; Simone Neri Serneri, University of Siena The pollution in contemporary ages 6 June 2002

Teresa Isenburg, University of Florence How you study water?
Stefania Barca, University Institute Orientale
The natural capital. Waters and industrialization in the valley of Liri
8 October 2002

Marcus Hall, European University Institute A surveying compared on alluviums in the United States and in Piemonte Walter Palmieri, ISSM-CNRNaples A history of the landslides and alluviums in Southern Italy
25 October 2002

During the month of September (from the 2nd to the 6th) the Institute organized a summer school for ecology, history and environmental economics in collaboration with local agencies of the Molise Region.
Two monthly seminars open to all interested parties - students, researchers, and teachers - are held to provide the occasion for a continuous exchange of research ideas and experiences. The scholars listed-below were invited to present their own research on the following topics:

J. Izquierdo Martin, University of Madrid (UNED) The autism of microeconomics 4 November 2002

Marta Orviska, University of Banska Bystrica Tax Evasion, Civil Duty and the Law Abiding Citizen 12 Decembers 2002

Anetta Caplanova, University of Bratislava Voting Behaviour in Transition Countries 13 Decembers 2002

In order to increase the relationships between the Institute and other research institutions, a Center for the History of Mediterranean Europe has been created through a convention with the Advanced Normal School of Pisa. Another convention has been endorsed with the Province of Naples, to promote cooperation with countries of the Southern shore of the Mediterranean. Other conventions are currently in the of phase of implementation with: the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the University Matej Bel di Banska Bystrica (Slovakia), and the Foundation of the Bank of Naples.
The Institute's web page is: On the web page you can find information regarding research lines, conferences, initiatives, and publications. In the pages dedicated to staff, research and work opportunities are available in pdf format. The web site allows you to consult the ISSM library's catalogue. The three libraries, which will soon be merged, contain approximately 13,000 national and international volumes specialized on the topics relevant to the Institute's research interests (and often difficult to locate in the Neapolitan area).
The internal publication "Quaderni dell'ISSM" collects some of the research staff papers and articles.

The Institute also has an active video production, whose responsibility lies with Dr. Vincenzo Romano. This service shows through images relevant documentation, analyses, didactics and communication. The unit is equipped with sophisticated equipment, and produces and distributes numerous scientific documentaries.