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Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship

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Author Info

  • Franco Amatori

    ()
    (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan)

  • Matteo Bugamelli

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Andrea Colli

    ()
    (Università Commerciale "Luigi Bocconi", Milan)

Abstract

The economic performance of a country depends, among other things, on the strategies and structures of its firms. In the framework that is designed by institutions and policies and determined by technology and macroeconomic cycles, entrepreneurs decide how to allocate available resources in order to face off competitors and to hook up with demand cycles. This paper looks at the evolution of the Italian economy across the last 150 years from a business history perspective. Analyzing Italian firms over the long-term cycles of the global economy and with respect to the different paradigms of the three industrial revolutions, we identify some structural features that explain successes and failures of the Italian economy. In doing this we explicitly connect the micro level of the business enterprise to the macro one of the national business system and explain the comparatively good performance of the Italian economy from the end of the 19th century to the 1970s. Over the last three decades this performance has turned negative, highlighting the role played by the small average size of firms and the failure of institutions to provide incentives for growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) with number 13.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:workqs:qse_13

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Keywords: firm size; technological paradigms; innovation; entrepreneurship;

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