Giovanni Foresti, Fabrizio Guelpa, Stefania Trenti

The industrial districts at the palingenesis test

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Industrial Districts, Market Structure

The Italian industrial district model is changing, notably in two fundamental aspects. On the one hand, the growing appropriability of innovation calls into question the innovation-imitation mechanism typical of the district-based competitive dynamic, introducing idiosyncratic factors the fruits of which are enjoyed only by a specific firm. On the other hand, the fragmentation of production chains compels district firms to internationalise, opening up value chains from the local to the global level. A new reality is emerging within districts whereby the strategies decided by firms are acquiring more weight than in the past. This research highlights the growing participation of districts in market globalisation and the opening up of chains internationally. It also documents the importance of the new strategies and new models of conduct in determining business performance. The study also examines the role of leader firms, which is very different from the past. Lastly, consideration is given to how far the changes under way are reducing the "district effect" or, conversely, the extent to which, despite a context of profound change, the underlying territorial factor may still constitute a competitive advantage.

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