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Ownership Structure, Innovation Process and Competitive Performance: the Case of Italy




The Italian industrial sector is characterized by a number of peculiarities compared to other advanced countries. One of these is the small average size of its firms. This particular model of organization of production, based on the small dimension and often on informal relationships within and outside the firm, guarantees flexibility and a high degree of specialization, two key factors of the Italian economic performance. But this model presents some limits too, one being related to the ownership structure and governance of firms. Another characteristic of the Italian industrial sector is its weakness in high-tech industries: innovative activity is still far from the level reached in the major industrialized countries, and Italian trade deficit in the technologically-advanced sectors is persisting. In this paper, we try to assess whether the weak performance of the Italian economy in the high-tech sectors may depend upon ownership structure in Italy. Ownership structure can influence innovative activity because it implies particular forms of risk and profit sharing, and particular financial sources. The first part of the paper presents the main characteristics of Italian corporate governance and ownership structure, as well as the innovation system in Italy, comparing them with the situation in other industrialized countries. In the second part of the paper, we estimate a probit model over a sample of firms from the precision tools sector, the pharmaceutical sector, the glass and ceramics sector and the furniture sector to test how the probability of patenting an innovation is affected by the ownership of the firms, among other variables. Estimation analysis indeed shows that the innovative output is affected by the ownership structure, as this variable turns out to be significant in many specifications of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Rosa Battagion & Lucia Tajoli, 1999. "Ownership Structure, Innovation Process and Competitive Performance: the Case of Italy," KITeS Working Papers 120, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Nov 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp120 Note: Paper prepared for the "Corporate Governance and Investiment Project", Aarhus

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Erik Berglöf, 1997. "Reforming corporate governance: redirecting the European agenda," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(24), pages 91-123, April.
    2. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 6309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    5. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ugur, Mehmet & Hashem, Nawar, 2012. "Market concentration, corporate governance and innovation: partial and combined effects in US-listed firms," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 8840, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    2. Mauricio Garrón B. & Carlos Gustavo Machicado & Katherina Capra, 2003. "Privatization in Bolivia: The Impact on Firm Performance," Research Department Publications 3154, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. 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.
    4. Czarnitzki, Dirk & Kraft, Kornelius, 2001. "Unternehmensleitung und Innovationserfolg," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-70, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Chen, Yan & Zhang, Bin, 2013. "基于所有权视角的企业创新理论框架与体系
      [The Theoretical Framework and System of Innovation within Enterprises: Based on the Perspective of Ownership]
      ," MPRA Paper 47078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Belloc, Filippo, 2010. "Corporate governance and innovation: an organizational perspective," MPRA Paper 21495, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Ownership structure; Innovation; Performance;

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing

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