Table of contents
About this book
Italian industrial districts (IDs) recently attracted international attention because their performance during the last few decades contradicted the alleged weakness of industrial structures based on SMEs in "traditional" sectors. The book analyses some developments taking place in Italian IDs and local systems of production that can represent a new stage of evolution for the backbone of the Italian economy. It presents contributions, based on the extensive use of original databases, on three main trajectories of change in IDs. The first trajectory is the increasing role of "groups" of manufacturing SMEs arising from mergers and acquisitions as well as spin-off growth processes at the "family firms" level. The second trajectory is the consolidation of innovation capabilities in IDs. Based on the analysis of firm-level databases, the book presents evidence on the increasing role of formal innovation activities performed by companies in IDs, which partly contrasts earlier results. The third trajectory is the internationalisation process of Italian IDs through both trade and foreign direct investment (FDI). The collection of essays suggests that Italian IDs are again evolving by coherent adaptations which will have, however, uncertain outcomes.