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Firms Growth, Size And Innovation An Investigation Into The Italian Manufacturing Sector


  • Piergiuseppe Morone
  • Giuseppina Testa


This article aims at understanding the determinants of Italian small- and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) turnover growth having in mind the fact that the Italian economic system relies substantially on small firms which have traditionally managed to stay competitive by adopting strategies such as the creation of well-integrated social and institutional clusters or specialising in the production of quality goods (the so called Made in Italy). However, the growing pressure coming from the Far East has rendered this production system vulnerable, challenging its international competitiveness. Building on a conceptual model, we found that, on average, young firms are more likely to experience positive growth; moreover, turnover growth is positively associated with firms' size, process innovation, product innovation and organisational changes. In contrast, marketing innovation does not considerably affect Italian SMEs growth. When restricting our focus to a sub-sample of innovative firms, we found that those firms investing directly in innovating activities are almost 30% points more likely to experience positive growth, which is significantly affected also by workers and managers' re-qualification. Finally, among innovative firms, process innovation and organisational changes are, by far, the most influential innovating strategies. The model was tested using a unique database which collects data for the year 2004, over a sample of 2600 SMEs.

Suggested Citation

  • Piergiuseppe Morone & Giuseppina Testa, 2008. "Firms Growth, Size And Innovation An Investigation Into The Italian Manufacturing Sector," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 311-329.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:17:y:2008:i:4:p:311-329 DOI: 10.1080/10438590701231160

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barros, Pedro P & Nilssen, Tore, 1999. " Industrial Policy and Firm Heterogeneity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 597-616, December.
    2. Miyagiwa, Kaz & Ohno, Yuka, 1997. "Strategic R&D policy and appropriability," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 125-148, February.
    3. Poyago-Theotoky, Joanna, 1996. "R&D Competition with Asymmetric Firms," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 334-342, August.
    4. Ana I. Saracho, 2002. "Patent Licensing Under Strategic Delegation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(2), pages 225-251, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miroslav Mateev & Yanko Anastasov, 2010. "Determinants of small and medium sized fast growing enterprises in central and eastern Europe: a panel data analysis," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 34(3), pages 269-295.
    2. Insu Cho & Heejun Park & Jeongil Choi, 2011. "The impact of diversity of innovation channels on innovation performance in service firms," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 5(3), pages 277-294, September.
    3. Ali-Yrkkö, Jyrki & Martikainen, Olli, 2008. "The Impact of Technological and Non-Technological Innovations on Firm Growth," Discussion Papers 1165, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    4. Marcelo Vieta, 2015. "The Italian Road to Creating Worker Cooperatives from Worker Buyouts: Italy�s Worker-Recuperated Enterprises and the Legge Marcora Framework," Euricse Working Papers 1578, Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises).
    5. Ana Ferreira & Ana Lúcia Teixeira & Ana Roque Dantas, 2015. "Non-technological innovation activities mediate the impacts of the intra- and extra-organizational contexts on technological innovation outputs," Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, IET/CICS.NOVA-Interdisciplinary Centre on Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, vol. 11(11), pages 9-43, December.

    More about this item


    JEL Classification; L1; O31; C24;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models


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