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Local Production Systems in Europe: Rise or Demise?

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Author Info

  • Crouch, Colin

    (European University Institute, Florence)

  • Gales, Patrick Le

    (CEVIFOP-CNRS, Paris)

  • Trigilia, Carlo

    (University of Florence)

  • Voelzkow, Helmut

    (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)

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    Abstract

    This is the first book to present a systematic analysis of specialized clusters of small manufacturing enterprises in the main European economies. Combining knowledge from case-study literature with original analyses of statistical data enables the authors to present full accounts of the role of these clusters in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, showing the considerable diversity of forms they take. Local production systems (as these clusters are termed) are seen to exist where there are either particular competitive advantages for participation by clusters of small and medium-sized, as opposed to large, firms, or where such clusters at least stand as good a chance as large firms. Small firms may work through a diversity of forms of governance: certain forms of market; cooperation among themselves; through associations; with larger firms located in the same area; or by making use of local facilities provided by governmental or other external agencies - or a combination of all five. The introduction shows how previous literature has been divided into two strands. First came optimistic, mainly 1980s, writings, which assumed that the search for flexibility and quality, typical of post-Fordist models of economic organization, would enhance the role of SMEs. In the ensuing decade, a more pessimistic analysis was put forward. It was argued that the increasing globalization of the economy would bring about a demise of local production systems, under pressure from new global large firms. The authors discuss the possibility of more nuanced findings, and propose a combination of the literature on local production systems with theories of economic governance to assist this process. There follows a chapter which surveys overall economic development in the four countries, concentrating on local economies. Then four national surveys take up the theme of the governance of local production systems in Italy, Germany, France, and Britain. A concluding chapter identifies a diversity of forms of clusters of small firms, and on that basis develops a sociological critique of current neo-institutionalist theories of markets. Local production systems are found to be growing, not declining, in importance, as they facilitate the circulation of tacit knowledge - a precious resource in all sectors which depend on both constant innovation and the flexibility of small enterprises. However, the most rapidly growing form of these systems is that where groups of small suppliers depend on a major customer firm - a form that in the long run might undermine the autonomous capacities of local small-firm systems. Contributors to this volume - Valeria Aniello (Federico II University of Naples; CEVIFOP-CNRS, Paris) Luigi Burroni (University of Florence) Colin Crouch (European University Institute, Florence) Henry Farrell (Max-Planck Project Group, Bonn) Ulrich Glassmann (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne) Patrick Le Gales (CEVIPOF-CNRS, Paris) Andres Rodriguez-Pose (London School of Economics) Carlo Trigilia (University of Florence) Helmut Voelzkow (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)

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    Bibliographic Info

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    This book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780199242511 and published in 2001.

    ISBN: 9780199242511
    Order: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199242511.do
    Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199242511

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    Cited by:
    1. Howard Gospel & Jim Foreman, 2002. "The provision of training in Britain: case studies of inter-firm coordination," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20055, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Anastasiia Konstantynova & James Wilson, . "Comparing Cluster Policies: An Analytical Framework," Working Papers 2014R01, Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
    3. Sara C. Santos Cruz & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2007. "A new look into the evolution of clusters literature. A bibliometric exercise," FEP Working Papers 257, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    4. Hector Rocha, 2004. "Entrepreneurship and Development: The Role of Clusters," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 363-400, October.
    5. Giorgia Giovannetti & Enrico Marvasi & Marco Sanfilippo, 2014. "Supply Chains and the Internalization of SMEs: Evidence from Italy," RSCAS Working Papers 2014/62, European University Institute.
    6. Heidenreich, Martin, 2005. "The renewal of regional capabilities: Experimental regionalism in Germany," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 739-757, June.
    7. Eleonora Di Maria & Stefano Micelli, 2007. "District leaders as open networks: emerging business strategies in Italian industrial districts," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0038, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    8. Anna Lejpras, 2012. "Knowledge, Location, and Internationalization: Empirical Evidence for Manufacturing SMEs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1229, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Marco Giansoldati & Rubens Pauluzzo, 2011. "The International Evolution of Italian and Chinese Districts: What Role for Lead Firms?," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 471-486, December.
    10. Rafael Boix Domenech & Luciana Lazzeretti & José Luis Hervàs Oliver & Blanca De Miguel Molina & Borja Trujillo Ruiz, 2011. "Creative clusters in Europe: a microdata approach," ERSA conference papers ersa11p471, European Regional Science Association.

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