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Growth, competitiveness and firm size: factors shaping the role of Italy’s productive system in the world arena

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Abstract

The well-known anomaly of the size structure of Italian manufacturing industry, in which small and micro firms have a disproportionately high share of total employment and value added and large firms a correspondingly low one, has been accentuated in recent years, depressing nominal labour productivity in the economy as a whole. Hindering the expansion of small firms are obstacles rooted in structural and behavioural characteristics of the productive system, such as the aversion to loss of direct ownership and management control of family businesses and the consolidation of the model of industrial districts, alongside factors external to the firm, such as the nature of Italy’s banking and financial system and industrial policy measures. The declining trend in Italy’s shares of the international market in recent years reflects an unfavourable composition of outlet markets and sectors in terms of their relative growth dynamics, but it also stems largely from problems connected with the size-imposed limits on international and transnational expansion and the gradual break-up of once-dominant oligopolistic groups. The risks of a model of development in industry and services based on poor or mediocre human capital, and thus unable to employ and exploit the growing supply of graduates entering the labour market, must not be underestimated.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrizio Onida, 2003. "Growth, competitiveness and firm size: factors shaping the role of Italy’s productive system in the world arena," KITeS Working Papers 144, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp144
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/cri/papers/WP144ONIDA.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matteo Bugamelli, 2001. "Il modello di specializzazione internazionale dell'Italia e dei principali paesi europei: omogeneit� e convergenza," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 402, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Malerba, Franco, 2002. "Sectoral systems of innovation and production," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 247-264, February.
    3. Chiarlone Stefano, 2001. "Evidence of Product Differentiation and Relative Quality in Italian Trade," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 147-168.
    4. Filippi Enrico & Zanetti Giovanni, 2001. "La grande impresa italiana nell'ultimo quarto di secolo," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 4, pages 603-632.
    5. Balloni Valeriano & Iacobucci Donato, 2001. "I "nuovi protagonisti" dell'industria italiana," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 4, pages 633-676.
    6. De Nardis Sergio & Traù Fabrizio, 1999. "Specializzazione settoriale e qualità dei prodotti: misure della pressione competitiva dell'industria italiana," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 177-212.
    7. Stefano Chiarlone, 2000. "Evidence of Product Differentiation and Relative Quality in Italian Trade," KITeS Working Papers 114, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2000.
    8. Brioschi Francesco & Brioschi Maria Sole & Cainelli Giulio, 2001. "Legami di proprietà, strutture di gruppo e distretti industriali. Il caso dell'Emilia-Romagna," L'industria, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 4, pages 677-700.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuele Forlani, 2014. "Financial Reliability and Firms' Export Activity," DEM Working Papers Series 093, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    2. Annamaria Simonazzi & Paolo Villa & Federico Lucidi, 2008. "Continuity and Change in the Italian Model: Italy's Laborious Convergence towards the European Social Model," Working Papers 108, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade; Competitiveness; Size of firms; ItalyDirect Investment; Employment; Productivity.;

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration

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