Alberto de' Stefani

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De' Stefani

Alberto de' Stefani (6 October 1879 – 15 January 1969) was an Italian politician and economist.[1] Coming from a background in liberalism to Benito Mussolini's Italian fascism, De Stefani was in charge of Italian economics from 1922 to 1925. His time in charge was characterized by laissez-faire ideals.

Minister of treasury[edit]

De Stefani was appointed by Mussolini as Italy's minister of treasury in December 1922 when Vincenzo Tangorra suddenly died.[2] He was a liberal economist and a former stalwart leader in the Centre Party[clarification needed][3] who favoured policies such as free-trade, tax cuts without too much government interference, and privatisation of businesses such as the communications industry.[4] He also undertook a thorough reform of the taxation system in Italy, which was adjudged a success at the time, although it has been noted that the reforms he enacted had been laid out by his predecessor Filippo Meda but not enacted.[5] De Stefani took advantage of the dictatorial powers afforded to Mussolini's regime to enact these reforms, which had previously been blocked by parliament.[6]

The economy prospered under de Stefani's direction, as part of a Europe-wide growth. Both wages and the cost of living fell under his direction.[4] He accomplished his goal of a balanced budget for the financial year 1924–25.[7] By mid-1925, the economy was heading towards crisis and Mussolini dismissed de Stefani, replacing him with Giuseppe Volpi, a corporatist.[8]

Later political career[edit]

Although removed from his position as minister de Stefani remained a member of the Grand Council of Fascism until the collapse of Mussolini's regime.[9] From this position, de Stefani often criticised some of the actions of Mussolini's government. He was socially conservative and in 1928 launched an attack on what he felt was the "abundantly liberal" legislation being passed on marriage, arguing that those who chose not to procreate should be denied the same legal rights as parents.[10] He would later become associated with a tendency that included fellow movement veterans Emilio De Bono, Italo Balbo, and Luigi Federzoni that was highly critical of the introduction of Nazi Germany-influenced racial laws into Italy.[11]

Academic career[edit]

Away from politics, de Stefani served as a lecturer in economics at the Vicenza Institute of Technology.[12] He later was appointed a professor at the Sapienza University of Rome.[13]


  1. ^ Coco, Orazio (15 December 2020). "Italian Advisors in Nationalist China: The Mission and Work of Alberto de' Stefani, High Commissioner of Chiang Kai-Shek". The International History Review. 43 (5): 951–965. doi:10.1080/07075332.2020.1857292. S2CID 230539984.
  2. ^ Guido Samarani; Laura De Giorgi (2018). "Alberto De' Stefani: from Ca' Foscari to China". In Laura De Giorgi; Federico Greselin (eds.). 150 Years of Oriental Studies at Ca' Foscari. Venice: Edizione Ca’ Foscari. pp. 164–165. doi:10.30687/978-88-6969-252-9/015. ISBN 978-88-6969-252-9. S2CID 165881097.
  3. ^ Howard M. Sachar, The Assassination of Europe, 1918–1942: A Political History, Toronto: Canada, University of Toronto Press, 2015, p. 48
  4. ^ a b Nicholas Farrell, Mussolini: A New Life, Phoenix, 2004, p. 185
  5. ^ Douglas J. Forsyth, The Crisis of Liberal Italy, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 75
  6. ^ Forsyth, The Crisis of Liberal Italy, p. 272
  7. ^ Vera Zamagni, The Economic History of Italy, 1860–1990, p. 244
  8. ^ Farrell, Mussolini, p. 186
  9. ^ Farrell, Mussolini, p. 391
  10. ^ David G. Horn, Social Bodies: Science, Reproduction, and Italian Modernity, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 91
  11. ^ Nicola Caracciolo, Florette Rechnitz Koffler, Richard Koffler, Uncertain Refuge: Italy and the Jews During the Holocaust, University of Illinois Press, 1995, p. 144
  12. ^ Jude Wanniski, The Way the World Works, Regnery Gateway, 1998, p. 134
  13. ^ Paul B. Trescott, Jingji Xue: The History of the Introduction of Western Economic Ideas into China, 1850–1950, Chinese University Press, 2007, p. 96

External links[edit]

  • Coco, Orazio (2020). "The Penetration of Italian Fascism in Nationalist China: Political Influence and Economic Legacy". The International History Review. 43 (2): 264–280. doi:10.1080/07075332.2020.1754273. S2CID 219047959.
  • Coco, Orazio (2017). Colonialismo europeo in Estremo Oriente. L'esperienza politica ed economica delle concessioni territoriali in Cina. Rome: Nuova Cultura. pp. 245–253.