Natural Disasters and Firm Resilience in Italian Industrial Districts

  • Giulio CainelliEmail author
  • Andrea Fracasso
  • Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


We carry out a firm-level empirical analysis to evaluate the economic impact of the sequence of earthquakes that occurred in 2012 in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and to address the question of whether the localization of a firm within an industrial district mitigated or exacerbated this impact. We estimate the effect of the earthquake on firms’ performance via two alternative methods: Difference-in-differences and propensity score matching in levels and first-differences. Our findings suggest that the earthquake reduced turnover, production, value added, and return on sales of the surviving firms, at least in the short term. In addition, the debt over sales ratio grew significantly more in the firms located in the areas affected by the earthquake. The empirical evidence also suggests that the negative impact of the earthquake was slightly higher for the firms located in industrial districts, thereby suggesting that, at least in the short term, the usually positive cumulative processes associated with localization within an agglomerated area could have reversed and magnified the negative impact of a disruptive exogenous supply shock.


Agglomeration economies Natural disaster Resilience Industrial districts 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Cainelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrea Fracasso
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Management, School of International StudiesUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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