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From Fuà’s NEC Model to a New Role for Medium-Size Firms


  • Fulvio Coltorti


The starting point for this essay is Giorgio Fuà’s thesis regarding Italian economic development from the end of the 1960s onwards. Fuà stated that a “latecomer” such as Italy would not automatically follow the same path observed in the history of more advanced countries. Indeed, Italy embarked on a completely different path to growth. Since the 1970s the most important engines of Italian growth have been the industrial districts, consisting of clusters of highly specialized small firms, the growth being concentrated mainly in the North East Centre (NEC) regions of Italy. The second stage of growth in Fuà’s model sees the emergence of more organized firms. The most recent trends appear to bear out Fuà’s arguments. Researches carried out in the 1990s by Mediobanca and Unioncamere shed new light on the medium-size businesses located in the district areas as the most successful category of firms in the Italian manufacturing industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Fulvio Coltorti, 2006. "From Fuà’s NEC Model to a New Role for Medium-Size Firms," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 4, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:rar:journl:0042

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    Economic Development; Large Firms; Mid-Sized Firms; Industrial Districts;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms


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