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Modernisation without flexible specialisation: how large firm restructuring and government regional policies became the step-parents of autarchic regional production systems in France

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  • Hancké, Bob
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    Abstract

    This paper discusses the adjustment of large firms in France, in particular how theyregionalised their production structures in the 1980s. Throughout the Golden Age,large firms had geographically reorganised their activities: strategic planning remained in Paris, while the actual production was decentralised into the provinces, primarily to address cost and labour conflict issues. A proto-regionalised production system was the result.When the large firms then faced a serious profitability crisis in the 1980s, and thetraditional state-financed way out of the problems was no longer available, they sawin these proto-regional production systems a chance to become more competitive. Inorder to make the necessary changes, they relied on the decentralisation policies ofthe governments in the 1980s. Using the examples of technology and training policy, the paper demonstrates how the large firms used the second-order effects of the new policies as a means to modernise their own operations -- Thema der vorliegenden Analyse ist die Frage, wie sich Großunternehmen inFrankreich im Verlauf der achtziger Jahre an stärker regionalisierte Produktionsstrukturen angepaßt haben. Während der goldenen sechziger und siebziger Jahre hatte sich ein proto-regionalisiertes Produktionsmodell herausgebildet: die strategische Planung blieb in Paris konzentriert, die Produktion wurde an kostengünstigere und weniger konfliktträchtige Standorte in der Provinz ausgelagert. In der tiefgreifenden Rentabilitätskrise in den frühen achtziger Jahren sahen die Großunternehmen in diesen Standorten eine Chance, ihre Wettbewerbsfähigkeit zu steigern. Deswegen kamen ihnen die politischen Initiativender verschiedenen Regierungen in dieser Zeit für eine stärkere Dezentralisierung inwichtigen Politikfeldern sehr entgegen. Am Beispiel der regionalen Technologiepolitik und der regionalen Bildungspolitik wird gezeigt, wie die Großunternehmen die Nebeneffekte dieser auf die Stärkung der Regionen zielenden Politikansätze für ihre Modernisierung nutzten

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment with number FS I 97-304.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbece:fsi97304

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    1. Glyn, Andrew, 1997. "Does Aggregate Profitability Really Matter?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(5), pages 593-619, September.
    2. Dorothée Rivaud-Danset & Robert Salais, 1992. "Les conventions de financement des entreprises. Premières approches théorique et empirique," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 7(4), pages 81-120.
    3. Hancké, Bob & Cieply, Sylvie, 1996. "Bridging the finance gap for small firms. The role of information flows across large firm-based production networks in supplying finance to small firms: the case of France," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 96-311, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. Hancké, Bob, 1996. "Industrial reorganisation in France: changing relationships between large and small firms," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 96-301, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Hancké, Bob & Casper, Steven, 1996. "ISO 9000 in French and German car industry: how international quality standards support varieties of capitalism," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 96-313, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Hohenberg, Paul M., 1977. "Political Strategies for Industrial Order: State, Market, and Industry in France. By John Zysman. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977. Pp. ix, 230. $12.75," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(04), pages 1104-1105, December.
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