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Agglomeration, related variety and vertical integration


  • Giulio Cainelli

    () (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche “Marco Fanno”, Università degli Studi di Padova)

  • Donato Iacobucci

    () (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Gestionale e dell’Automazione, Università Politecnica delle Marche)


Several recent studies investigate the relation between geographic concentration of production and vertical integration based on the hypothesis that spatial agglomeration of firms in the same industry facilitates input procurement thereby reducing the degree of vertical integration. The present paper contributes to this debate. We are interested specifically in assessing the effect of specialization compared to variety, in local production systems, in these decisions. Using a dataset of 24,663 Italian business groups for 2001, we estimate Tobit models to investigate the influence of these forces on the degree of vertical integration. Following a methodology developed by Fan et al. (2009), we construct an index of vertical integration in business groups using information on the activities of firms belonging to the same group, and information from input-output tables on the exchanges between industries. Our evidence supports the hypothesis that vertical integration choices are influenced by agglomeration forces. Moreover, we find that the higher the variety in the local system the lower the need for firms to integrate activities since they can acquire intermediate goods and services from within the local system. Finally, we show that it is not variety ‘per se’ that matters for vertical integration choices, but the presence of technologically related activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulio Cainelli & Donato Iacobucci, 2010. "Agglomeration, related variety and vertical integration," Working Papers 1005, c.MET-05 - Centro Interuniversitario di Economia Applicata alle Politiche per L'industria, lo Sviluppo locale e l'Internazionalizzazione.
  • Handle: RePEc:cme:wpaper:1005

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    Cited by:

    1. Cirer-Costa, Joan Carles, 2013. "The role of geography in the success of the balearic tourism industry," MPRA Paper 47701, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Nicola Cortinovis & Frank Oort, 2015. "Variety, economic growth and knowledge intensity of European regions: a spatial panel analysis," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 55(1), pages 7-32, October.
    3. Stefano Elia & Lucia Piscitello & Sergio Mariotti, 2013. "Industrial Districts, Core Cities And Ownership Strategy Of Multinational Firms Investing In Italy," ERSA conference papers ersa13p27, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Roberto Antonietti, 2016. "From outsourcing to productivity, passing through training: microeconometric evidence from Italy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(5), pages 407-425, July.
    5. Tsekouras, Kostas & Chatzistamoulou, Nikos & Kounetas, Kostas & Broadstock, David C., 2016. "Spillovers, path dependence and the productive performance of European transportation sectors in the presence of technology heterogeneity," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 261-274.
    6. Costantini, Valeria & Liberati, Paolo, 2014. "Technology transfer, institutions and development," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 26-48.
    7. Antonietti, Roberto & Cainelli, Giulio & Lupi, Claudio, 2013. "Vertical disintegration and spatial co-localization: The case of Kibs in the metropolitan region of Milan," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 360-363.
    8. Anna Maria Ferragina & Fernanda Mazzotta, 2014. "Agglomeration economies and global activities: impact on firm survival," ERSA conference papers ersa14p348, European Regional Science Association.
    9. Frank Van Oort, 2013. "Agglomeration Economics Beyond the Specialisation-Diversity Controversy," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1313, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2013.
    10. Hu, Cui & Xu, Zhaoyuan & Yashiro, Naomitsu, 2015. "Agglomeration and productivity in China: Firm level evidence," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 50-66.
    11. Roberto Antonietti & Maria Rosaria Ferrante & Riccardo Leoncini, 2016. "Local market size, social capital and outsourcing: evidence from Emilia Romagna," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 243-260, June.
    12. Anna Ferragina & Fernanda Mazzotta, 2015. "Agglomeration economies in Italy: impact on heterogeneous firms’ exit in a multilevel framework," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(4), pages 395-440, December.
    13. Giulio Cainelli & Eleonora Di Maria & Roberto Ganau, 2011. "Agglomeration, related-variety and internationalisation. Does a relationship exist?," Openloc Working Papers 1114, Public policies and local development.
    14. Izabella Szakálné Kanóa, Balázs Lengyel, Zoltán Elekes, Imre Lengyel & Balázs Lengyel & Zoltán Elekes & Imre Lengyel, 2016. "Related variety, ownership, and firm dynamics in transition economies: the case of Hungarian city regions 1996-2012," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1612, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised May 2016.
    15. Roberto Antonietti & Maria Rosaria Ferrante & Riccardo Leoncini, 2014. "Trust your neighbour. Industrial relatedness, social capital and outsourcing," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1403, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jan 2014.
    16. Cirer-Costa, Joan Carles, 2015. "Pouring oil over the Balearic tourism industry," MPRA Paper 61164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. repec:spr:anresc:v:58:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00168-017-0807-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Timmermans, Bram & Fitjar, Rune Dahl, 2015. "Skill Relatedness in Norway by Bram Timmermans and Rune Dahl Fitjar," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2015/20, University of Stavanger.
    19. Giulio Cainelli & Andrea Fracasso & Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti, 2015. "Spatial agglomeration and productivity in Italy: A panel smooth transition regression approach," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94, pages 39-67, November.
    20. repec:elg:eechap:14395_12 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Donato Iacobucci, 2014. "Designing and Implementing a Smart Specialisation Strategy at Regional Level: Some Open Questions," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 107-126.
    22. Roberto Antonietti & Giulio Cainelli, 2012. "Urban size and KIBS vertical disintegration: Evidence from Lombardy," ERSA conference papers ersa12p666, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    vertical integration; agglomeration; related-variety; business groups;

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics

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