Giovanni Vecchi is professor of economics at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata.” His scholarly articles have appeared in a number of international, peer-reviewed journals. He is a consultant to the World Bank on issues related to poverty and inequality measurement. His most recent book is For Richer and For Poorer: Italian Welfare from Unification to the Present Day.
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The paper argues that household budgets are the best starting point for investigating a number of big questions related to the evolution of the living standards during the last two-three centuries.