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The Emilian Model Revisited: Twenty Years After


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  • Alberto Rinaldi



In the early 1980s Emilia-Romagna drew wide attention as a case of successful industrialisation based on small and medium-sized firms clustered in industrial districts intermingled with social cohesion and integration assured by the hegemonic role played by the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in the region. Twenty years after, the Emilian economy seems to have regenerated its competitive advantage. This resulted from important changes involving both the industrial structure and the governance structure. As to the former, a restructuring of local industry led to the formation of business groups, the rise of lead firms, the emergence of distant networks, the introduction of computer-based technologies, and an increasing variety in the evolutionary paths of the various districts. As to the latter, the disappearance of a Communist political subculture and the transformation of the ruling party from the PCI into fistly the PDS and then the DS brought about a change in the governance structure which was marked by an increased reliance on business associations in both designing and managing industrial policies. As a result, these shifted towards a market-driven approach, focused on induvidual firms and, above all, lead firms rather than industrial districts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi" in its series Department of Economics with number 0417.

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Length: pages 28
Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Business History, vol. 47, 2, pp. 244-226 (2005)
Handle: RePEc:mod:depeco:0417

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Keywords: Emilia-Romagna; Industrial Districts; Lead Firms; Business Associations; Governance; Industrial Polocies;

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Cited by:
  1. López-Estornell,Manuel & Barberá-Tomás,David & García-Reche,Andrés & Mas-Verdú,Francisco, 2012. "Evolution of innovation policy in Emilia-Romagna and Valencia: Similar reality, similar results?," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201210, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
  2. Jordi Catalan & Ramon Ramon-Munoz, 2011. "The origins of Made in Spain fashion. The competitive advantage of the textile, apparel and footwear districts since the Golden Age," Working Papers in Economics 265, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  3. Anna Natali & Margherita Russo, 2011. "Districts and Industrial Policies. What We Can Learn from Sebastiano Brusco," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, September.
  4. Andrea Colli & Alberto Rinaldi, 2012. "Institutions, Politics and the Corporate Economy," Department of Economics University of Siena 664, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Cocchi, Andrea, 2011. "Business models as systemic instruments for the evolution of traditional districts?," MPRA Paper 33766, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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