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Spatial Agglomeration, Technology and Outsourcing of Knowledge Intensive Business Services Empirical Insights from Italy

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  • Roberto Antonietti

    (University of Bologna)

  • Giulio Cainelli

    (University of Bari and CERIS-CNR)

Abstract

Aim of this paper is to explore the main drivers of outsourcing of knowledge intensive business services by Italian manufacturing firms. While anecdotal and empirical evidence has emphasized labour cost and scale economies as behind firms’ choices to outsource production or service activities, here we focus on spatial agglomeration and technology as important factors. Using microeconomic data on a repeated cross-section of Italian manufacturing firms for the period 1998-2003, we develop a two-stage model in order to avoid selection bias: first, we estimate the determinants of the firm's decision to outsource business-related services; second, we estimate the main factors underlying the intensity and complexity of KIBS outsourcing, expressed by the number of service activities that are externalized. Our results show that labour cost-savings are not relevant in driving the decision to outsource KIBS, but ICT, R&D and location within a dense and technologically developed industrial district have very positive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Antonietti & Giulio Cainelli, 2007. "Spatial Agglomeration, Technology and Outsourcing of Knowledge Intensive Business Services Empirical Insights from Italy," Working Papers 2007.79, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.79
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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Castellani & Valentina Meliciani & Loredana Mirra, 2016. "The Determinants of Inward Foreign Direct Investment in Business Services across European Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(4), pages 671-691, April.
    2. Charlie Karlsson & Urban Gråsjö & Sofia Wixe (ed.), 2015. "Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15906.
    3. Mauro Capestro & Elisabetta Tarantino & Fabrizio Morgangni & Eleonora Tricarico & Gianluigi Guido, 2014. "Distretti calzaturieri in crisi: cause del declino e strategie di rinnovamento," ECONOMIA E SOCIET REGIONALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 187-212.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Ohnemus, Jörg, 2009. "Productivity effects of business process outsourcing: a firm-level investigation based on panel data," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-088, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Roberto Antonietti & Giulio Cainelli, 2012. "Urban size and KIBS vertical disintegration: Evidence from Lombardy," ERSA conference papers ersa12p666, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Roberto Antonietti & Maria Rosaria Ferrante & Riccardo Leoncini, 2015. "Infrastructure endowment, social capital and outsourcing: evidence from Emilia Romagna, Italy," Chapters, in: Charlie Karlsson & Urban Gråsjö & Sofia Wixe (ed.), Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy, chapter 13, pages 310-330, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Daria Ciriaci & Sandro Montresor & Daniela Palma, 2013. "Do KIBS make manufacturing more innovative? An empirical investigation for four European countries," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2013-04, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    12. Pinuccia Calia & Maria Ferrante, 2013. "How do firms combine different internationalisation modes? A multivariate probit approach," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(4), pages 663-696, December.
    13. Lars Bengtsson & Mandar Dabhilkar, 2009. "Manufacturing outsourcing and its effect on plant performance—lessons for KIBS outsourcing," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 231-257, April.
    14. Roberto Antonietti & Giulio Cainelli, 2011. "Geographic concentration and vertical disintegration in KIBS: evidence from the metropolitan area of Milan," Openloc Working Papers 1105, Public policies and local development.
    15. García-Quevedo, José & Mas-Verdú, Francisco & Montolio, Daniel, 2011. "What type of innovative firms acquire knowledge intensive services and from which suppliers?," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201108, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
    16. Valentina Meliciani & Maria Savona, 2015. "The determinants of regional specialisation in business services: agglomeration economies, vertical linkages and innovation," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 387-416.
    17. Paul L. Robertson & David Jacobson & Richard N. Langlois, 2009. "Innovation Processes and Industrial Districts," Chapters, in: Giacomo Becattini & Marco Bellandi & Lisa De Propis (ed.), A Handbook of Industrial Districts, chapter 21, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    KIBS; Service Outsourcing; R&D; ICT; Spatial Agglomeration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis
    • 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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