The structural evolution of industrial districts and adaptive competitive advantages

  • Giulio Cainelli
  • Roberto Zoboli
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)


Italian industrial districts (IDs) and local systems of production (LSPs) are receiving increasing attention by economic research and economic policy even at the international level1. After the classical contribution by Becattini (1979 and 1989) and Brusco (1982), a great number of works have been published recently on this topic (see, for example, Bagella and Becchetti, 2000; Belussi and Gottardi, 2000; Guerrieri et al., 2001; Quadrio Curzio and Fortis, 2002). ISTAT, the Italian Statistical Office, and the Bank of Italy have carried out extensive inquiries on various aspects of IDs and LSPs (see, among others, Signorini, 2000). At the same time, significant efforts have been made at the different levels of government, from national to local, to create specific instruments of industrial policy suitable for IDs and LSPs, up to arriving at the adoption of the Italian national Law 317 of 1991 on SMEs and industrial districts. Although the feasibility of defining IDs on legislative grounds based on statistical criteria has been widely debated — and the above-mentioned law institutionalising IDs did have little practical significance, this policy process suggests the great importance attached to IDs for the Italian economy.


Foreign Direct Investment Multinational Enterprise Industrial District Foreign Affiliate Italian Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Antonelli G., et al. (a cura di) (1999), Disoccupazione e basso livello di attività in Italia, II Mulino, Bologna.Google Scholar
  2. Antonelli G., Zoboli R. (2001), “Ricerca e innovazione in una economia di servizi”, in: Garonna P., Iammarino S. (a cura di), Economia delia ricerca, Società Italiana degli Economisa, II Mulino, Bologna.Google Scholar
  3. Bagella M., Becchetti L. (Eds.) (2000), The Competitive Advantage of Industrial Districts. Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, Physica-Verlag, Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  4. Balloni V., Iacobucci D. (1997), “Cambiamenti in atto nell’organizzazione deH’industria marchigiana”, Economia Marche, vol. 16, n. 1.Google Scholar
  5. Balloni V., Iacobucci D. (2001), “Diffusione e caratteristiche dei gruppi di piccole e medie imprese nelle aree distrettuali”, in: Brioschi F., Cainelli G. (a cura di), Diffusione e caratteristiche dei gruppi di piccole e medie imprese nelle aree distrettuali, Giuffrè Editore, Milano.Google Scholar
  6. Becattini G. (1979), “Dal’ settore’ industriale al ‘distretto’ industriale: alcune considerazioni sull’unità di indagine dell’economia industriale”, Rivista di Economia e Politico Industriale, Vol. 5, n. 1.Google Scholar
  7. Becattini G. (1989), “Sectors and/or districts: Some remarks on the conceptual foundation of industrial economics”, in: Goodman E., Bamford J. (Eds), Small Firms and Industrial Districts in Italy, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  8. Belussi F., Gottardi G. (Eds.) (2000), Evolutionary Patterns of Local Industrial Systems. Towards a Cognitive Approach to the Industrial District, Aldershot, Ashgate.Google Scholar
  9. Best M. (1990), The New Competition: Institutions of Industrial Restructuring, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  10. Bianchi R., Brioschi M.S. E Cainelli G. (2001), “Gruppi di imprese e distretti industriali in Emilia Romagna”, in: Balloni V. (a cura di), Piccole e grandi imprese nell’attuale contesto competitivo, Giappichelli Editore, Torino.Google Scholar
  11. Bramanti A., Maggioni M.A. (1997), La dinamica dei sistemi produttivi territoriali: teorie, tecniche, politiche, Franco Angeli, Milano.Google Scholar
  12. Braudel F. (1985), La dinamique du capitalism, ed. Arthoud, Paris.Google Scholar
  13. Brioschi F., Brioschi M.S., Cainelli G. (2002), “From the Industrial District to the District Group. An Insight Into the Evolution of Local Capitalism”, Regional Studies, vol. 36, n.9.Google Scholar
  14. Brusco S. (1982), “The Emilian model: Production decentralisation and social integration”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, n. 2.Google Scholar
  15. Brusco S., Paba S. (1997), “Per una storia dei distretti industriali italiani dal secondo dopoguerra agli anni Novanta”, in: Barca F. (a cura di), Storia del capitalismo italiano dal dopoguerra ad oggi, Donzelli, Roma.Google Scholar
  16. Cainelli G., Leoncini R. (1999), “Externalities and Long-Term Local Industrial Development. Some Evidence From Italy”, Revue d’Economie Industrielle, n. 4.Google Scholar
  17. Cainelli G., Leoncini R., Montini A. (2001), “Struttura produttiva e sviluppo regionale di lungo periodo in Italia”, Moneta e Credito, vol. LIV, n. 216.Google Scholar
  18. Calabrese G., Coccia M., Rolfo S. (2002), “Analisi del processo innovativo nelle PMI italiane”, CERIS-CNR, Working Papers, n. 11/2002, Torino.Google Scholar
  19. Cipolla CM. (1965), Guns and Sails in the Early Phase of European Expansion 1400-1700, Collins and Sons and Co Ltd, London.Google Scholar
  20. CNEL (2002), Italia Multinazionale. Inward and Outward Foreign Direct Invstments in the Italian Industry in 1998 and 1999, CNEL, Roma, at Scholar
  21. Day R. (forthcoming), The Divergent Dynamics of Economic Growth, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (chapter 3).Google Scholar
  22. Dunning J.H., Narula R. (eds.) (1996), Foreign Direct Investments and Governments, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  23. European Commission (2002a), High-tech SMEs in Europe, DG Enterprise, Observatory of European SMEs, No. 6/2002, Brussels.Google Scholar
  24. European Commission (2002b), Regional Clusters in Europe, DG Enterprise, Observatory of European SMEs, No. 3/2002, Brussels.Google Scholar
  25. European Commission (2002C), SMES in Europe, Including a First Glance at EU Candidate Countries, DG Enterprise, Observatory of European SMEs, No. 2/2002, Brussels.Google Scholar
  26. European Commission (2002d), Benchmarking enterprise policy. Results from the 2002 Scoreboard, Commission Staff Working Document, SEC(2002)1213, DG Enterprise, November.Google Scholar
  27. Ferrucci L. (2003), “II gruppo distrettuale: rafforzamento o destabilizzazione del paradigma distrettuale?. Un commento al contributo di Cainelli”, in: Pace G. (a cura di), Le disparité regionali nel Mediterraneo. Innovazione, sviluppo, apprendimento, Franco Angeli, Milano.Google Scholar
  28. Ferrucci L., Varaldo R. (1993), “La natura e la dinamica dell’impresa distrettuale”, Economia e Politica Industriale, n.80.Google Scholar
  29. Fortis M. (1998), Il Made in Italy, Il Mulino, Bologna.Google Scholar
  30. Glaeser E., Kallal H., Scheinkaman J., Schleifer A. (1992), “Growth in Cities”, Journal of Political Economy, vol. 100.Google Scholar
  31. Groenewegen P. (2001), “The evolutionary economics of Alfred Marshall: An overview”, in: Laurent J., Nightingale J. (Eds.), Darwinism and Evolutionary Economics, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.Google Scholar
  32. Guerrieri P., Iammarino S., Pietrobelli C. (2001), The Global Challange to Industrial Districts. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Italy and Taiwan, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.Google Scholar
  33. Henderson V., Kunkoro A., Turner M. (1995), “Industrial Development in Cities”, Journal of Political Economy, vol. 103.Google Scholar
  34. Hodgson G.M. (2001), “Is Social Evolution Lamarkian or Darwinian?”, in Laurent J., Nightingale J. (eds.), Darwinism and Evolutionary Economics, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.Google Scholar
  35. ICE (2003), L’ltalia nell’economia internazionale, Rapporto 2002-2003, Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero, Roma, Giugno.Google Scholar
  36. IDSE-CNR (1999), Trasformazioni strutturali e competitivite dei sistemi locali di produzione, Franco Angeli, Milano.Google Scholar
  37. IPI (2002), L’esperienza italiana dei distretti industriali, Istituto per la Promozione Industriale, Roma, Scholar
  38. Landes D.S. (1999), The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Why Some are so Rich and Some so Poor, W.W. Norton and Company Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  39. Lane D.A. (2002), “Complessità e interazioni locali. Verso una teoria dei distretti industriali”, in: Quadrio Curzio A., Fortis M. (a cura di), Complessità e distretti industriali. Dinamiche, modelli e casi reali, Fondazione Montedison ‘Comunità e Innovazione’, II Mulino, Bologna.Google Scholar
  40. Limoges C, Menard C. (1994), “Organisation and the division of labour: biological metaphores at work in Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics”, in: Mirowski P. (Ed.), Natural Images in Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  41. Maggioni M.A. (2002), Custering Dynamics and the Location of High-Tech Firms, Springer, Heidelberg.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Malerba F., Lissoni F. (2002), “I caratteri fondamentali del sistema di innovazione italiano”, in: Quadrio Curzio A., Fortis M., Galli G. (a cura di), La competitivitá dell’Italia. Volume I: Scienza, ricerca e innovazione, Centro Studi Confmdustria, II Sole 24 Ore, Milano.Google Scholar
  43. Markusen J.R. (1995), “The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprise and the Theory of International Trade”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9–2.Google Scholar
  44. Metcalfe J.S. (1998), Evolutionary Economics and Creative Destruction, Routledge, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Montini A., Zoboli R. (2003), Infrastrutture e sviluppo economico in Italia: un’analisi degli indicatori a livello comunale, in: Pace G. (a cura di), Innovazione, sviluppo e apprendimento nelle regioni dell’Europa Mediterranea, Franco Angeli, Milano.Google Scholar
  46. Nelson R.R., Winter S.G. (1982), An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass.Google Scholar
  47. Paniccia I. (1998), “One, a Hundred Thousands of Industrial Districts: Organisational Variety in Local Network of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises”, Organisation Studies, vol. 19,4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Porter M.E. (1998), “Clusters and the new economics of competition”, Harvard Business Review, November-December.Google Scholar
  49. Putnam R. D. (1993), Making Democracy Work, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  50. Quadrio Curzio A., Fortis M. (a cura di) (2000), Il Made in Italy oltre il 2000. Innovazione e comunità locali, Fondazione Montedison ‘Comunità e Innovazione’, Il Mulino, Bologna.Google Scholar
  51. Quadrio Curzio A., Fortis M. (a cura di) (2002), Complessità e distretti industriali. Dinamiche, modelli e casi reali, Fondazione Montedison ‘Comunità e Innovazione’, Il Mulino, Bologna.Google Scholar
  52. Quadrio Curzio A., Fortis M., G. Galli (a cura di) (2002), La competitivitá dell’Italia. Volume I: Scienza, ricerca e innovazione, Centro Studi Confmdustria, Il Sole 24 Ore, Milano.Google Scholar
  53. Rolfo S. (a cura di) (1997), Innovazione, piccole imprese e distretti industriali, 3° Rapporta CNEL/CERIS-CNR, Rome.Google Scholar
  54. Rolfo S. (a cura di) (2000), Innovazione e piccole imprese in Piemonte, Franco Angeli, Milano.Google Scholar
  55. Rugman A.M. (1980), “A New Theory of the Multinational Enterprise: Internationalization versus Internalization”, Columbia Journal of World Business, Spring, 23-29.Google Scholar
  56. Saviotti P.P., Metcalfe J.S. (Eds.) (1991), Evolutionary Theories of Economic and Technological Change, Hardwood Academic Publishers, Chur.Google Scholar
  57. Signorini L.F. (2000), Lo sviluppo locale. Un’indagine della Banca d’Italia sui distretti industriali, Donzelli, Roma.Google Scholar
  58. UNCTAD (2001), World Investment Report 2001. Promoting Linkages, UNCTAD, Geneva.Google Scholar
  59. WTO (2003), World Trade Report 2003, WTO, Geneva.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Cainelli
    • 1
  • Roberto Zoboli
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.National Research CouncilUniversity of Bari and CERIS-DSEMilanItaly
  2. 2.CERIS-DSENational Research CouncilMilanItaly
  3. 3.Catholic UniversityMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations