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Opening the black box of entrepreneurship: The Italian case in a historical perspective

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  • Pier Angelo Toninelli
  • Michelangelo Vasta

Abstract

The main objective of this paper is to shed light on the Italian entrepreneurship between the beginning of the second industrial revolution and the end of the twentieth century. It is based on a new dataset concerning the profiles of 386 entrepreneurs. The results are twofold: first, by proposing an empirically based taxonomy of Italian entrepreneurs not exclusively founded on intuitions and qualitative judgements, the article provide valuable interpretative elements; second, the article puts forward some hypotheses about the relationship between entrepreneurship and Italian economic growth. In particular a cluster analysis singles out five different entrepreneurial typologies characterised by a widespread tendency to search for new markets, yet a scarce attitude towards innovation. Further it is suggested that the evolution of the institutional context slowed down the development of the entrepreneurial abilities and virtues necessary to grow.

Suggested Citation

  • Pier Angelo Toninelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2014. "Opening the black box of entrepreneurship: The Italian case in a historical perspective," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(2), pages 161-186, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:56:y:2014:i:2:p:161-186
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2012.745068
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 351-385, April.
    2. David B. Audretsch & Max Keilbach, 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Growth and Restructuring," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2006-13, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    3. Simeon Djankov & Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Entrepreneurship in Brazil, China, and Russia," Working Papers w0066, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    4. Simeon Djankov & Yingyi Qian & Gérard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Entrepreneurship in China and Russia Compared," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 352-365, 04-05.
    5. Walter Friedman & Richard Tedlow, 2003. "Statistical portraits of American business elites: a review essay," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 89-113.
    6. Baumol, William J., 1996. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, unproductive, and destructive," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-22, January.
    7. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 60-85, March.
    8. Freeman, Chris & Louca, Francisco, 2002. "As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251056.
    9. Henrekson, Magnus & Sanandaji, Tino, 2010. "Institutional Entrepreneurship: An Introduction," Working Paper Series 853, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Di Martino & Michelangelo Vasta, 2012. "Happy 150th Birthday Italy? Institutions and Economic Performance Since 1861," Department of Economics University of Siena 662, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. repec:oup:indcch:v:27:y:2018:i:3:p:425-447. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alberto Rinaldi & Giulia Tagliazucchi, 2018. "Women Entrepreneurs in Italy: A Prosopographic Study," Department of Economics 0129, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    4. Nuvolari, Alessandro & Vasta, Michelangelo, 2015. "The Ghost in the Attic? The Italian National Innovation System in Historical Perspective, 1861–2011," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 270-290, June.
    5. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:8:p:1418-1436 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:taf:bushst:v:59:y:2017:i:3:p:319-341 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Emanuele Felice & Amedeo Lepore, 2017. "State intervention and economic growth in Southern Italy: the rise and fall of the ‘Cassa per il Mezzogiorno’ (1950–1986)," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(3), pages 319-341, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N84 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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