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Industrial Structure and Competitiveness: Crucial Elements in the Internationalization of the Italian Economy


  • Giorgia Giovannetti
  • Elena Mazzeo


In a rapidly evolving environment, industrial countries market shares tend to shrink and firms (and governments) have to adjust to higher competitiveness. In Italy, a country specialized in the production and export of traditional goods, and therefore more exposed than others to the price competitiveness of emerging countries, export shares in volume have been falling for about ten years and more than for other industrial countries. Exporting firms have undergone a process of structural change and the "survivors" seem to be the one that reacted either delocalizing low value added and skill intense production phases or upgrading the quality of the traditional goods (or both). Rather than changing specialization and moving towards research-intensive goods, Italian firms have found market niches producing high quality goods. Protectionism and devaluation are not feasible strategies to win. Institutions should support the internationalization of italian firms trying to offset their well-known drawbacks: size, geographical and sectoral specialization and low foreign direct investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgia Giovannetti & Elena Mazzeo, 2008. "Industrial Structure and Competitiveness: Crucial Elements in the Internationalization of the Italian Economy," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 117-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:mul:j0hje1:doi:10.1430/26628:y:2008:i:1:p:117-134

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Barbiano di Belgiojoso & Sara Colautti & Massimo Florio & Cristina Castelli, 2008. "The Natuzzi Group and the Bari-Matera (Italy) upholstered furniture district. A case study of internationalisation in a traditional industry," Working Papers 200903, CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies.


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