Archives for posts with tag: italy

remember how southern italians are more inbred than northern italians? and how the pisa scores are a lot lower in southern italy than in the north? and how there’s less “civic society” and more nepotism — even in academia — in southern italy than in northern italy? and how … well just how different northern and southern italy seem to be from one another in all sorts of ways?

well guess which presidenti di regione in italia earn the most money?

“Sicily and Sardinia Top Regional Pay Table”
27 gennaio 2012

“ROME – Sicily’s [SOUTH] regional chair Raffaele Lombardo says even mentioning ‘wage cages’ (regional wage differentials – Trans.) ‘disgusts’ him. A laudably consistent politician, Lombardo heads a region with almost the same number of residents as Veneto [NORTH], but with a 9.4% lower cost of living, trousering 43% more in pay and allowances than his Veneto colleague Luca Zaia. Lombardo banks €170,319 after tax as opposed to Zaia’s €118,703, according to the official figures posted on the conference of regional chairs’ website ( And this doesn’t even take into account the enormous difference in wealth of the two territories. According to the ISTAT statistics institute, Veneto’s GDP is 75% higher than Sicily’s.

The fact is that the only wage cages – the once-popular system of paying reduced wages in areas where the cost of living was lower – in existence in Italy are the ones that apply to politicians. They’re ‘reverse wage cages’, of course. Does it really make sense for a regional councillor in Molise [SOUTH], with a 32.8% lower cost of living, to rake in €10,125 every month when a colleague in Liguria [NORTH] gets €8,639? We will ignore the fact that Molise has a fifth of Liguria’s population and 37% less wealth per head.

“What is the point of a regional councillor in Emilia Romagna [NORTH] receiving half the net remuneration of a counterpart in Sardinia [SOUTH] (€5,666 in comparison with €11,417)? Or that the annual pay of the Calabrian [SOUTH] regional chair, even after a cut of €27,000, should be €43,000 higher than the remuneration of the Tuscan [NORTH] authority’s chair…?

“We should applaud the claim of Sardinia’s [SOUTH] regional chair Ugo Cappellacci that he waived ‘some time ago the chairman’s allowance and the official car to send out a personal signal at a difficult time for all’ yet it is impossible to forget that every resident in Sardinia has to fork out at least six times as much as a citizen in Lombardy [NORTH] or Emilia Romagna [NORTH] for the upkeep of the regional council. Simply by putting pay in the 20 regional parliaments on the same level, taxpayers could save the far from trivial sum of €606 million a year. It’s hard to see why the regional councils of Emilia Romagna [NORTH] and Lombardy [NORTH] get by nicely on about €8 per resident when the Sicilian [SOUTH] regional assembly needs almost €35 and Valle d’Aosta’s council a lavish €135….

“It still brings a wry smile to your lips to recall that many of Italy’s regional authority chairs are better – and in some cases considerably better – paid than the governors of US states.”


(note: comments do not require an email. northern and southern italy. and a bit in the middle. (~_^))

back in this post, i posted about how when asked in the 1999 world values survey, “To which of these geographical groups would you say you belong first of all?,” only 23.3% of italians responded italy. many more of them (53.4%) responded that they identified with their locality first and the country second.

unfortunately, they changed the wording of the world values survey questions regarding this topic in subsequent waves. in 2005 they simply asked do you strongly agree/agree or strongly disagree/disagree with the following statement: “I see myself as citizen of the [country] nation.” in 2005, 48.2% of italians said they strongly agreed with that statement. in addition, 35.6% said they strongly agreed with “I see myself as a member of my local community.”

it’s hard to compare the two data sets (1999 and 2005) ’cause of the wording change, but it could look like italians are starting to feel more italian. the age data from 1999 kinda looked like it might indicate that — certainly people over 50 were more inclined to identify first with their locality and secondly with the nation. it was hard to tell with younger people, though.

now an italian research group, censis, has published their social outlook survey report for 2011. amongst their findings:

“In its latest outlook on society, Censis found that 46% of citizens identified themselves as ‘Italians’, while 31.3% were more locally orientated, 15.4% considered themselves ‘citizens of the world’ or as ‘Europeans’ and 7.3% felt allegiance only to themselves.”

no idea if these responses represent “strongly agree” answers, or even what the specific questions were, but this seems to be in the ballpark of the 2005 world values survey responses — a little under half of italians identify with being italian. that’s … pretty good!

by way of comparison, when americans were asked “I see myself as citizen of the [country] nation” for the world values survey in 2006, 61.2% of respondents said that they strongly agreed with that statement.

oh … 57.3% of italians also said, in this censis survey, that they are willing to make more sacrifices for italy considering the bad economic times. but only if the sh*t really hits the fan.

previously: on feeling local

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in the article about italy that i quoted in one of yesterday’s posts, the author said:

“When you ask citizens of, for example, Pisa how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Pisans, then as Tuscans, and only after as Italians or Europeans.”

from the world values survey, 1999 — in response to the question: To which of these geographical groups would you say you belong first of all? And the next? And which do you belong to least of all? (click on images for LARGER view):

more than half (53.4%) of italians said they identified most (first) with their local community compared to 38.4% of greeks and 31.9% of americans. only 23.3% of italians identified first with the nation, whereas 35.3% of greeks and 34.9% of americans did. i’m surprised that so many greeks identified first with their nation, but then they are less inbred than italians. why so few americans should identify first with their country, i don’t know. many recent immigrants? too outbred? a combination of both? dunno.

a full 19.5% of americans said they identified first with “The World.” somehow i don’t think that those sentiments are generally reciprocated. maybe from some northern europeans? dunno — will have to check that out.

1999 starts to be a bit old for sentiment data; unfortunately, this (exact) question was not asked on the most recent world values survey (2005), and the respondents from 1999 are practically a whole generation ago now (how time flies!).

here’s the same data from 1999 for each of the three countries by age of respondent. first, greece:

then, italy:

finally, the u.s.:

older greeks (over 50) identified more strongly with their locality than younger greeks, and there was a general downward trend from the eldest to youngest greeks. there’s a u-shaped pattern amongst the italians: like the greeks, italians over 50 were most likely to identify with their locality, but unlike the greeks they were waaay more likely to do so. the subsequent italian generations, like the greeks, were less likely to identify first with their locality, although they did so more than the greeks. but there was an upswing in local identity amongst italians aged 15-29. americans showed an inverse u-shaped pattern in local identity, with 30- and 40-somethings most likely to identify locally than other americans. altogether, americans were much less likely to identify first locally.

again, older greeks had the strongest national sentiments compared to younger greeks, and there was a downward trend over the generations. on the whole, greeks were much more likely to identify first as greeks than italians as italians. and their nationalistic sentiments were pretty comparable to those of americans — a surprise to me! italian feelings of being italian first have increased over the generations, but only slightly, and their percentages are quite a bit below those of greece and the u.s. like the greeks, older americans were more likely to feel american first, and there’s been a downward trend.

younger people (ages 15-29) in both greece and the u.s. were more likely to identify first as citizens of the world — something like 19% in greece and 25% in the u.s. younger italians, too, felt more like global citizens than their elders, but only at a rate of about 10%. in all three cases, as the feelings of being global citizens increased, the feeling of being connected to a locality or nation decreased — or vice versa.

(note: comments do not require an email. 1999!)

…in ACADEMIA! heh.

in all likelihood, anyway:

“Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia”

“In Italy, nepotism is perceived as a cancer that has metastasized, invading many segments of society, including academia. The figure of the ‘barone’ (baron), the all-powerful senior professor who can, with a stroke of the pen, make or destroy careers, has permeated popular culture and is frequently represented in novels and movies. Nepotistic practices are especially damaging in a situation in which there are very few new positions (e.g. in Italy, for several years, all academic hires were put on hold). Despite legislative efforts aimed at eradicating nepotism, the general perception is that the practice is alive and well. The more blatant cases have gained the attention of the public, but the magnitude of the problem is unknown, as all the evidence is anecdotal….

“Recently, Durante et al. performed the first large-scale survey of co-occurrence of last names among Italian academics, and compared it with detailed geographical data on last name frequency. Their analysis showed that the degree of homonymity in academia is much higher than expected at random, especially in some disciplines and institutions. Moreover, they showed that a high degree of homonymity negatively correlates with several indices of academic performance. Although sharing last names does not necessarily imply family affiliation, it can be used as a proxy for nepotistic relations. If anything, the number of cases is going to be largely underestimated, as in Italy women maintain their maiden names, and children take their father’s last name. Thus, using last names one can detect nepotism associated with father-child and inter-sibling relations, but not mother-child cases and those involving spouses. Considering that in the sporadic documented cases the majority of hires involves spouses, and that women constitute about a third of the professors, one can conclude that such an analysis can detect roughly half of the cases of nepotism within the immediate family, not to mention lovers, domestic partners, pupils and more distant relatives….”


previously: inbreeding in italy and all i want for christmas

see also: chalk and cheese @those who can see.

(note: comments do not require an email. university of catania, sicily.)

“The End of Italy”

“Why should we be surprised Italy is falling apart? With dozens of languages and a hastily made union, it was barely a real country to begin with….

“It took four centuries for the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England to finally become one in the 10th, yet nearly all the territories of the seven states that made up 19th-century Italy were molded together in less than two years, between the summer of 1859 and the spring of 1861. The pope was stripped of most of his dominions, the Bourbon dynasty was exiled from Naples, the dukes of central Italy lost their thrones, and the kings of Piedmont became monarchs of Italy. At the time, the speed of Italian unification was regarded as a kind of miracle, a magnificent example of a patriotic people uniting and rising up to eject foreign oppressors and home-bred tyrants.

“However, the patriotic movement that achieved Italian unification was numerically small — consisting largely of young middle-class men from the north — and would have had no chance of success without foreign help. A French army expelled the Austrians from Lombardy in 1859; a Prussian victory enabled the new Italian state to acquire Venice in 1866.

“In the rest of Italy, the Risorgimento (or Resurgence) wars were not so much struggles of unity and liberation as a succession of civil wars. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had made his name as a soldier in South America, fought heroically with his red-shirted volunteers in Sicily and Naples in 1860, but their campaigns were in essence a conquest by northern Italians of southern Italians, followed by the imposition of northern laws on the southern state known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Yet the southern city of Naples did not feel liberated — only 80 citizens of Italy’s largest city volunteered to fight for Garibaldi — and its people soon became embittered that the city had exchanged its role as the 600-year-old capital of an independent kingdom for the status of a provincial center. Today, its status remains reduced, and southern GDP is barely half what it is in the regions of the north….

“When you ask citizens of, for example, Pisa how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Pisans, then as Tuscans, and only after as Italians or Europeans. As many Italians cheerfully admit, their sense of belonging to the same nation becomes apparent only during the World Cup, when the Azzurri, the members of the national soccer team, are playing well….”

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jayman said: “M.G., I noticed that your map [of consanguinity rates in twentieth century italy] correlates very well with my map of IQs in Italy here, right down to the large difference between Friuli and Sicily.”

yes, they do correlate well. here is jayman’s map of iqs in europe (click on images for LARGER view):

and, for good measure, here is the reluctant apostate’s map of pisa scores in italy (pisa scores being a good proxy for iq scores):

and here is m.g.’s map of the average consanguinity rates (first-cousin marriage rates) for italy from 1930-1964:

so, yeah — in general, higher consanguinity rates in southern italy + lower iq/pisa scores. meanwhile, lower consanguinity rates in northern italy + higher iq/pisa scores. coincidence? maybe. but, you know, inbreeding depression and lower iqs….

jayman also said: “I wonder what would happen if we made a map of historical consanguinity for Europe as a whole.”

yes, please! or how about … the WHOLE WORLD! that’s what i’m asking santa for christmas this year, anyway — historical consanguinity data for all human societies. (just drop it in my stocking, santa. doesn’t need to be wrapped or anything! i’ve been a really good girl this year — i promise! (~_^) )

the data for consanguinity rates in italy came from cavalli-sforza and co. they collected dispensation records from the catholic church in italy, i.e. permissions granted by the church to cousin couples that wished to marry. cavalli-sforza, et. al., published data going back to 1910 — but they collected data as far back as 1780, but that hasn’t been published as far as i know. (d*mn!)

theoretically, there should be such data for all catholic countries in europe (and elsewhere?) going back — i dunno — for as long as they’ve been keeping records. there seems to be some civil records from the medieval period for parts of italy, too. the protestant nations are trickier since in many it has been ok to marry a cousin, so there are no dispensation records. (d*mn!) some protestant nations did have some anti-cousin marriage laws, though, and also kept really good records — like the efficient swedes. the eastern orthodox church? i don’t really know, but my impression is (after reading about mating patterns in greece) that there aren’t much of any records there, but i could be wrong. i really don’t know.

for anyone who’s curious about mating patterns in europe, you might want to skim through my Inbreeding in Europe series of posts (see links in left-hand column down below ↓). i’ve got some data posted here and there for some countries. there’s also my big timeline of european mating patterns, but that’s (*ahem*) very much a “work in progress.”

footnote: note that there are objections to richard lynn’s iq data as well as to using pisa scores as a proxy for iq scores. see the discussions in this comments thread as well as this one, and italianthro’s blog in general.

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no, i don’t know much about them, but via the italianthro blog, here’s a couple of charts from tian, et. al.’s European Population Genetic Substructure: Further Definition of Ancestry Informative Markers for Distinguishing among Diverse European Ethnic Groups (*whew*). northern italians are the little white triangles outlined in black — italians from the u.s., mostly southern italians, are the little yellow triangles outlined in black — and people from tuscany are the green diamonds with the dark green outline:

notice that there’s not much overlap between the northern italians, tuscans and southern italians. in other words, they’re different populations. they’re not wildly different populations — it’s not as if there were eskimos living in northern italy and australian aborigines living in southern italy — but they are different.

dienekes has found that there is a greater north african component (K=6) in southern italy/sicily than in northern italy:

and also that there is a greater northwest european component (K=10) in northern italy than in southern italy/sicily:

italianthro has objected to me having said about italy that there are: “different populations — broadly speaking, more germanic in the north, more greeks and arabs and others in the south.”

in one way he is correct — the genetic differences between northern and southern (and maybe central) italians is not due to just an influx of germanic, greek and arab genes into italy/sicily. i will readily admit to having been incorrect to put it like that. but there are genetic differences in italy’s population — the people living in italy/sicily are not entirely one people. the differences, tho, probably go back further than the arrival of the greeks and goths, so it was not right of me to just point to the german, greek and arab migrants, although they also contributed to the genetic differences that are found in italy today (for example).

that the genes of italians living in different regions of italy look somewhat distinct is the nature of genetics. if you compare my genome to my first-cousin’s, they’ll look rather different. but if you compare my genome and my first-cousin’s to an eskimo’s genome, then me and my first-cousin are going to look awfully alike.

tian, et. al., mentioned this about their italian samples:

“It also is worth noting that the inclusion of the Arab population groups results in larger separation between northern Italian and southern Italian (and/or Greek) subjects and suggests that inclusion of the Arab population genotypes may be useful in analyses of southern European population groups (data not shown).”

in other words, the southern italian samples were pulled farther away from the northern italian ones, towards the arab samples. that’s because there’s some amount north african/arab genes in the southern italy population — or, rather, that southern italians share genes in common with north africans/arabs.

when geneticists drill down further into italian genetics, they’ll no doubt find even greater differentiation; but at the same time, clearly italians are, on average, different from arabs or africans or eskimos.

(note: comments do not require an email. italian-americans!)

in looking for an explanation for why democracy today works better in northern as opposed to southern italy, putnam, et. al., point to the long history of civic behavior in northern italy, stretching back to the middle ages, in contrast to the feudal system of southern italy which lasted really into the 1800s [pg. 130]:

“In the North the crucial social, political, and even religious allegiances and alignments were horizontal, while those in the South were vertical. Collaboration, mutual assistance, civic obligation, and even trust — not universal, of course, but extending further beyond the limits of kinship than anywhere else in Europe in this era — were the distinguishing features in the North. The chief virtue in the South, by contrast, was the imposition of hierarchy and order on latent anarchy.”

in other words, northern italy was full of republican communes, while the south was run from the top down by the monarch.

medieval communes were a type of corporate society, but you can’t have a corporate society if you have clans or tribes or any sort of extended families produced by extensive inbreeding. you need a good deal of outbreeding to get the republican communes that putnam talks about. you need to have a society full of individuals looking out for their own best interests, and those of their immediate family (wife, children), as opposed to a society of extended families or clans or tribes looking out for the interests of their whole group. then, because of the effects of inbreeding on the evolution of social behaviors, you get clan vs. clan, not individuals coming together in guilds to promote their profession or mutal aid societies.

so, what were the mating patterns of northern and southern italians during the medieval period?

i don’t have any info (yet) for southern italy, but samuel kline cohn, jr., in Marriage in the Mountains, 1348-1500 (pg. 174+), finds that the marriage system of the people in the areas surrounding florence was very exogamous in the late-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries — a full three-quarters of the people married outside their parish, and just about half married beyond the pieve, a secular district larger than, and encompassing, the parishes. to me, that sounds potentially more exogamous than nineteenth and twentieth century rural greece in which the people had a preference for marrying within their village or to someone in a neighboring village. it was certainly much more exogamous than marriage patterns in twentieth century sicily and other parts of southern italy.

kline cohn doesn’t examine cousin marriages, but i think it’s safe to say that marriages over greater geographic distances (his “cross-boundary marriages,” for instance) are prolly unlikely to represent any close inbreeding. his data, btw, relates mostly to peasants:

pg. 192:

“The marriage records for the mountains of the early Renaissance in the territory of Florence do not highlight isolated communities, hollows of cultural and biological endogamy. Rather, it was in the plains near the city that one-third of those sampled married within their own parish….

“When the second geographical rung is considered — that of the pieve or the newer secular districts — little difference appears between these three regions. But a glance at a map shows that such intermarriages in the mountains could cover considerably more distance than in the smaller pievi of the plains surrounding the city of Florence….”

so, that’s one example of quite exogamous marriage patterns in northern medieval italy.

previously: democracy in italy

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