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The District Effect and the Competitiveness of Manufacturing Companies in Local Productive Systems


  • M. Teresa Costa-Campi

    (Department of Econometrics, Statisties and Spanish Economy, University of Barcelona, Avda Diagonal, 690, 08034 Barcelona, Spain,

  • Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal

    (Department of Econometrics, Statisties and Spanish Economy, University of Barcelona, Avda Diagonal, 690, 08034 Barcelona, Spain,


The present study evaluates the existence of differences in competitiveness of Spanish industrial firms as a consequence of the district effect. A quantitative analysis has been performed in order to assess external competitiveness taking into account whether firms are located in industrial districts—in the sense proposed by Marshall-Becattini—or remain isolated. The methodological approach considers geographical and sectoral variables. It attempts to establish the existence of a relationship between sectoral specialisation and business efficiency— measured as the capacity to export—in local productive systems. Most of the variables come from a 1991 fiscal data-set and the territorial units of analysis are 332 municipalities with a population of over 15 000 inhabitants. From the results on the econometric model, it can be inferred that the geographical concentration of companies in the same activity positively influences their level of competitiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Teresa Costa-Campi & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 1999. "The District Effect and the Competitiveness of Manufacturing Companies in Local Productive Systems," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 36(12), pages 2085-2098, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:36:y:1999:i:12:p:2085-2098

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    Cited by:

    1. Àngels Pelegrín, 2003. "Regional Distribution of Foreign Manufacturing Investment in Spain. Do Agglomeration Economies Matter?," Working Papers 2003/6, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Pedro Albarran & Raquel Carrasco & Adelheid Holl, 2013. "Domestic transport infrastructure and firms’ export market participation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 879-898, May.
    3. Beaudry, Catherine & Schiffauerova, Andrea, 2009. "Who's right, Marshall or Jacobs? The localization versus urbanization debate," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 318-337, March.
    4. Holl, Adelheid & Albarrán, Pedro & Carrasco, Raquel, 2009. "Transport infraestructure, sunk costs and firms' export behaviour," UC3M Working papers. Economics we092213, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    5. Juan Blyde, 2013. "Paving the Road to Export: Assessing the Trade Impact of Road Quality," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 663-681, December.
    6. Hangtian Xu & Kentaro Nakajima, 2017. "Highways and industrial development in the peripheral regions of China," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 325-356, June.
    7. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Blyde, Juan, 2013. "Shaky roads and trembling exports: Assessing the trade effects of domestic infrastructure using a natural experiment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 148-161.
    8. Miguel A. Márquez & Julián Ramajo & Geoffrey JD. Hewings, 2015. "Regional growth and spatial spillovers: Evidence from an SpVAR for the Spanish regions," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94, pages 1-18, November.
    9. 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.
    10. Blyde, Juan, 2010. "Paving the road to export: the trade impacts of domestic transport costs and road quality," MPRA Paper 24625, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Yilmaz Kilicaslan & Ilhom Temurov, 2015. "New Lessons from an Old Strategy: Import Substitution, Productivity and Competitiveness," EconWorld Working Papers 15002, WERI-World Economic Research Institute, revised Dec 2015.
    12. Marco Bellandi & María J. Ruiz‐Fuensanta, 2010. "An empirical analysis of district external economies based on a structure‐conduct‐performance framework," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(4), pages 801-818, November.

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