Keywords: Business Groups; Resilience; Internal Capital Market; Recession.
The main aim of this paper is to provide an analysis of the role and evolution of business groups in Italy over the last decade. The underlying idea of the research is that the belonging to a group offers to firms several benefits such as an easier access to the capital market. These benefits are specifically relevant in the case of real and financial shocks, such as those experienced by the Italian industrial system since the fall of 2008. These advantages allowed firms belonging to groups to raise their likelihood of survival, even in the case of low performance, thus softening the impact of market selection. The empirical analysis is based on Istat data about the population of Italian business groups and a sample of Italian manufacturing companies belonging to groups. The results of the empirical analysis are in line with our hypotheses. Firms belonging to groups showed a greater likelihood of survival, also because of the easier access to internal and external financial resources. Consequently, the weight of companies belonging to groups has grown over the period considered.