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Life Cycle vs. Multiple Path Dependency in Industrial Districts


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  • Fiorenza Belussi
  • Silvia Rita Sedita


The aim of this article is to shed light on the evolutionary process of industrial districts (IDs), evaluating the role of path dependence in their growth trajectories. We intend here to identify the districts' life cycles and the factors that influence the origin, development and maturity stages. Following an evolutionary economics approach, we investigated the path-dependence mechanism behind the evolution of IDs. By adopting a qualitative meta-study approach, the paper shows how different IDs have changed over time and how their growth pattern is partially determined by initial conditions and by heterogeneous capabilities cultivated by district firms. The analysis is applied to 12 case studies of Italian IDs developed in the literature, following the model of qualitative meta-analysis for theory building. The results provided add new insights to the present literature on evolutionary geography by indicating some key triggering factors. Our contribution shows that instead of a standardized life cycle, Italian IDs follow a multiple growth pattern in their development.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Planning Studies.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 505-528

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eurpls:v:17:y:2008:i:4:p:505-528

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Cited by:
  1. Fredin, Sabrina, 2013. "New Perspectives on Innovative Entrepreneurship and Path Dependence – A Regional Approach," CITR Working Paper Series 2013/06, Center for Innovation and Technology Research, Blekinge Institute of Technology.
  2. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2011. "Conceptualising Cluster Evolution: Beyond the Life-Cycle Model?," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1112, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jul 2011.
  3. Mohammad Hosein Tavassoli, 2011. "A Comparative Investigation of Firms’ Innovative behaviors During Different Stages of the Cluster Life-Cycle (Cover study for PhD dissertation)," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1045, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Amélia Branco & João Carlos Lopes, 2013. "The Economic Performance of Clustered and Non Clustered Firms along the different Phases of the Cluster Life Cycle: The Portuguese Cork Industry Case," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/26, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  5. Francisco Parejo & Amélia Branco & João Carlos Lopes & José Rangel Preciado, 2013. "Regional Integration and Firm Location Choices: A Long Run Approach to the Cork Industry in the Iberian Peninsula," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/18, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  6. Lucia Cusmano & Andrea Morrison & Enrico Pandolfo, 2014. "Spinoff and Clustering: a return to the Marshallian district," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1416, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Jul 2014.
  7. Fredin, Sabrina, 2012. "The Dynamics and Evolution of Local Industries – The case of Linköping," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2012/7, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  8. Ron Boschma, 2014. "Towards an evolutionary perspective on regional resilience," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1409, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Mar 2014.
  9. Schieber, Lars & Mossig, Ivo, 2011. "Clusterentwicklung und -politik in der Verpackungsmaschinenbau-Industrie Mittelhessens," Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsgeographie und Regionalentwicklung 2-2011, Universität Bremen, Institut für Geographie.
  10. Schieber, Lars & Mossig, Ivo, 2011. "Clusterentwicklung und -politik in der Verpackungsmaschinenbau-Industrie Baden-Württembergs," Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsgeographie und Regionalentwicklung 1-2011, Universität Bremen, Institut für Geographie.
  11. Silvia Rita Sedita & Ivan De Noni & Luciano Pilotti, 2014. "How do related variety and differentiated knowledge bases influence the resilience of local production systems?," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0180, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  12. Amélia Branco & João Lopes & Francisco Parejo & José Preciado, 2013. "Regional Integration And Business Location: Evidence From The Cork Industry In The Iberian Pensinsula," ERSA conference papers ersa13p419, European Regional Science Association.


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