The first two articles in this issue of Enterprise & Society shed new light on the performance of the postwar Italian economy, an intriguing paradox for economic and business historians. Italy has been notorious for its political instability, inflation, massive public debt, and clientelism. Its political and economic institutions are often derided and labeled dysfunctional. Yet, in historical perspective, the country has frequently performed better than its more stable and “efficient” European neighbors and other developed economies. Between 1950 and 1973, for example, Italy’s Gross National Product grew at 6.8 percent per annum and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita at a rate of 4.8 percent (matching Germany and second only to Japan). Even more remarkably, since 1973 its GDP, manufacturing output, exports, and productivity have all grown faster than that of any other major European economy.