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Productivity, innovation strategies and industrial relations in SMEs. Empirical evidence for a local production system in northern Italy


Author Info

  • Davide Antonioli
  • Massimiliano Mazzanti
  • Paolo Pini


The paper aims to provide an original contribution to evaluating several kinds of relations between four areas of innovation activities - training, technology, organization, ICT (information and communication technologies) - and industrial relations and firm's economic performance. Quantitative evidence for a SME-based local production system is provided by exploiting two datasets: the first is derived from a direct survey carried out in 2005 collecting data on innovations, labour flexibility and industrial relations; the second is represented by a panel of official balance sheets data for the period 1998-2004. The analysis is divided in two consequential parts. We first examine the drivers of different innovation strategies and subsequently we exploit innovation indicators as potential drivers of firm's productivity. The results show that training activities and organizational changes have strong links with many industrial relations indicators, thus emerging as industrial relations driven innovations. On the contrary, ICT and technological innovation seem to be more influenced by firms' past performances than by industrial relations. The analysis on labour productivity drivers shows that training activities are the most relevant factors; then, ranked consequently, technological innovation, organisational innovations and, finally, ICT also appear to impact on productivity levels. It is worth noting that the role of ICT emerges more robustly when endogeneity is specifically addressed. Finally, the role of firm size seems here to be overshadowed by other drivers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 453-482

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:24:y:2010:i:4:p:453-482

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Keywords: local production system; productivity; SMEs; innovation strategies; industrial relations;


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Cited by:
  1. Giulio Cainelli & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Sandro Montresor, 2011. "Environmental innovations, local networks and internationalization," Openloc Working Papers 1108, Public policies and local development.
  2. Davide Antonioli & Massimiliano Mazzanti, 2009. "Techno-organisational strategies, environmental innovations and economic performances. Micro-evidence from an SME-based industrial district," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 145-168.
  3. Seri, Paolo & Zanfei, Antonello, 2013. "The co-evolution of ICT, skills and organization in public administrations: Evidence from new European country-level data," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 160-176.
  4. Davide Antonioli & Simone Borghesi & Massimiliano Mazzanti, 2014. "Are Regional Systems Greening the Economy? the Role of Environmental Innovations and Agglomeration Forces," Working Papers 2014.42, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.


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