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ICT in Industrial Districts: An Empirical Analysis on Adoption, Use and Impact


  • Tommaso Ciarli
  • Roberta Rabellotti


The aim of this study is to analyse the main determinants of the adoption and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the relationship between ICT and the patterns of innovation in an Italian industrial district. The analysis is carried out on a database of 118 textile enterprises located in Biella, a well-known industrial district specialized in medium to high quality woollen yarns and textiles, that have been interviewed following a structured questionnaire. On the whole, the rate of adoption and use of ICT in Biella is rather low and this confirms the results of other studies on industrial districts that are specialized in traditional sectors. Nevertheless, our analysis also shows that considering ICT as a general technology may be misleading. Instead, it is useful to disentangle the different ICT; in particular, there are significant differences between IT involving production, administration and logistic processes and the communication technologies (CT). Moreover, on a smaller sample of 50 firms we have tested the hypothesis that adoption and use of ICT may positively influence innovation. In this case, we find that different types of innovations, for instance, product, process and organizational innovations, are influenced by very different variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Ciarli & Roberta Rabellotti, 2007. "ICT in Industrial Districts: An Empirical Analysis on Adoption, Use and Impact," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 277-303.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:14:y:2007:i:3:p:277-303 DOI: 10.1080/13662710701369239

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Nayyar, Deepak, 1978. "Transnational Corporations and Manufactured Exports from Poor Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(349), pages 59-84, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alvarez-segura, Francisco, 2012. "El Tajin, an archeological World Heritage site and tourist sustainable development”," EBLA Working Papers 201201, University of Turin.
    2. Roberta Rabellotti & Anna Carabelli & Giovanna Hirsch, 2007. "Italian SMEs and industrial districts on the move: Where are they going?," Working Papers 115, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    3. Sadaf Bashir & Uwe Matzat & Bert Sadowski, 2014. "The Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies in the Design Sector and their impact on Firm Performance: Evidence from the Dutch Design Sector," Working Papers 14-01, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Feb 2014.
    4. Bashir, Sadaf & Sadowski, B. M., 2014. "General purpose technologies: A survey, a critique and future research directions," 25th European Regional ITS Conference, Brussels 2014 101443, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    5. Paolo Seri & Tommaso Ciarli, 2014. "Regional structural change and small firms’ adaptabilities: Evidence from Italian firm-level data," Working Papers 1403, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2014.
    6. Asunción López López & José María Mella Vázquez & Victor Mella López, 2012. "La innovación en el sector de la Cerámica Artística," Economic Analysis Working Papers (2002-2010). Atlantic Review of Economics (2011-2016), Colexio de Economistas de A Coruña, Spain and Fundación Una Galicia Moderna, vol. 2, pages 1-1, December.
    7. Castiglione, Concetta & Infante, Davide, 2012. "ICTs and lags in technical efficiency gains. A stochastic frontier approach over a panel of Italian manufacturing firms," MPRA Paper 51071, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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