Networks of People in Specialty Production: Family Firms in the Iron and Steel Wire Industries in Spain (1870-2000)
Capital intensive industries in specialized niches of production have constituted solid ground for family firms in Spain, as evidenced by the experience of the iron and steel wire industries between 1870 and 2000. The embeddedness of these firms in their local and regional environments have allowed the creation of networks that, together with favourable institutional conditions, significantly explain the dominance of family entrepreneurship in iron and steel wire manufacturing in Spain, until the end of the 20th century. Dominance of family firms at the regional level has not been an obstacle for innovation in wire manufacturing in Spain, which has taken place even when institutional conditions blocked innovation and traditional networking. Therefore, economic theories about the difficulties dynastic family firms may have to perform appropriately in science-based industries must be questioned.
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