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From the industrial district to the district group: An insight into the evolution of capitalism in italy1

  • Francesco Brioschi
  • Maria Sole Brioschi
  • Giulio Cainelli

Brioschi F., Brioschi M. S. and Cainelli G. (2002) From the industrial district to the district group: an insight into the evolution of local capitalism in Italy, Reg. Studies 36, 1037-1053. The aim of this paper is two-fold: to analyse the extent of corporate grouping in the main industrial districts of Emilia Romagna and the reasons for their formation and development; and to show how their evolution in recent years requires rethinking the very concept of industrial district in favour of a unit of analysis capable of grasping the role taken by ownership linkages among firms. In this respect, we suggest a taxonomy of business groups that brings out the key role played by 'district groups'. The choice of Emilia Romagna as our field of investigation is motivated by the fact that in a number of ways the region's industrial system represents a paradigmatic model of local capitalism, combining the large-scale presence of industrial districts with a marked entrepreneurial spirit, strong social cohesion and an exceptionally efficient system of local institutions and intermediate organizations. In this sense, even though we start from the empirical study of a case (albeit a significant one like that of Emilia Romagna), our paper has the more general purpose of depicting the forms and ways through which a special form of local capitalism characterized by the massive presence of industrial districts has evolved, while at the same time signalling the need to reconsider the theoretical concepts and methods of empirical inquiry used to analyse and interpret the new forms taken on by local capitalism in Italy.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Regional Studies.

Volume (Year): 36 (2002)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1037-1052

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Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:36:y:2002:i:9:p:1037-1052
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