Exit, Voice, And Loyalty In The Industrial District: The Case Of Prato
In this paper the "exit, voice and loyalty" approach by Albert O. Hirschman is applied to the case of the rise and evolution of the Prato industrial district, from post-war days until now. This is done, not so much to gain a better understanding of the specific events in Prato, but rather to shed light on the recuperation mechanisms that characterise the fundamental economic relations within the industrial district: i.e. labour relations, subcontracting relations, and relations between firms. The analysis shows how the higher competitiveness and adaptability of the district derives from the relative abundance of exit mechanisms, but also from the wealth of forms of voice, both individual and collective. These are continually being renewed within the district, thus bringing about an alternation and recombination of the mix of exit and voice, and also of the interaction models between them. The wealth of expressions of voice is a distinctive element of district relations which is linked to the multiplicity of loyalty relations (team attachment, professional category membership, local community sense of membership...) existing within the district.
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