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The Role of Agglomeration and Technology in Shaping Firm Strategy and Organization


  • Giulio Cainelli

    (Università degli Studi di Bari)

  • Donato Iacobucci

    (Università Politecnica delle Marche)


Over the last few years a growing number of contributions have shown that the presence of business groups, i.e. sets of firms legally distinct but belonging to the same owner(s), is significant. From a theoretical point of view, this presence poses the question of whether the group or the single legal unit should be considered as the elementary unit in economic analysis: i.e., what is generally meant in microeconomic theory by ‘firm’. In this paper we consider the group as the appropriate unit to delimit the firm’s boundary, i.e. as the ‘observed’ organizational form adopted by firms when they grow in size. Starting from this hypothesis, the main aim of this paper is to analyse the role of structural variables, such as spatial agglomeration and technology, in determining some features of business groups’ strategy and organization. Specifically, the analysis concerns the presence and organizational specificity of business groups based on their membership of industrial districts (as a proxy for spatial agglomeration) and to the role of spatial agglomeration and technology in vertical integration strategies. To conduct the analysis, we take advantage of a new and large data-set at firm and business group level, recently developed by ISTAT (the Italian National Statistical Institute). The data-set, referring to 2001, covers all manufacturing firms organized as joint-stock companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulio Cainelli & Donato Iacobucci, 2006. "The Role of Agglomeration and Technology in Shaping Firm Strategy and Organization," Working Papers 2006.43, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.43

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giulio Cainelli & Donato Iacobucci & Enrica Morganti, 2006. "Spatial agglomeration and business groups: New evidence from Italian industrial districts," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 507-518.
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    3. Ottati, Gabi Dei, 1994. "Trust, Interlinking Transactions and Credit in the Industrial District," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(6), pages 529-546, December.
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    13. Fan, Joseph P H & Lang, Larry H P, 2000. "The Measurement of Relatedness: An Application to Corporate Diversification," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 629-660, October.
    14. Donato Iacobucci, 2002. "Explaining business groups started by habitual entrepreneurs in the Italian manufacturing sector," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 31-47, January.
    15. Heitor Almeida & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2005. "A Theory of Pyramidal Ownership and Family Business Groups," NBER Working Papers 11368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Goto, Akira, 1982. "Business groups in a market economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 53-70.
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    More about this item


    Business Groups; Agglomeration; Technology; Organisation and Strategy;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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