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La Creacion de Una Ventaja Competitiva en la Industria Corchera Portuguesa: La Contribucion de un Distrito Industrial


  • Amélia Branco
  • Francisco M. Parejo


During the second half of the twentieth century, the Spanish cork industry lost its hegemonic position to Portugal in the world market of manufactured cork. In this work we intend to demonstrate that one of the most important explanations for the consolidation of Portuguese leadership in the cork business lies in the formation and development of the industrial cork district of Aveiro (Santa Maria da Feira) in the north of Portugal. It was there that the growth of the Portuguese cork stopper industry took place and with this, the decisive national shift in orientation towards the manufacture of natural cork, substituting the traditional Portuguese trade in planks. We argue that the legislation that established control of industrial investment in Portugal - the socalled Industrial Conditioning (Condicionamento Industrial) - did not restrict the opening of small cottage industries in the north, thus reinforcing the competitiveness of Aveiro in the world stopper trade. Another measure of major importance was the wage regulation covering this industry, which was responsible for the favorable wage differential for the north in comparison with the south and the centre of the country. Finally, we highlight the role played by a big company (Amorim&Irmãos) in the formation and development of this industrial district. This company became a leading firm in the sector world-wide.

Suggested Citation

  • Amélia Branco & Francisco M. Parejo, 2009. "La Creacion de Una Ventaja Competitiva en la Industria Corchera Portuguesa: La Contribucion de un Distrito Industrial," Working Papers GHES - Office of Economic and Social History 2009/37, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, GHES - Social and Economic History Research Unit, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:gheswp:wp372009

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    Cork; “New State”; Portugal; Spain; Industrial District; Amorim & Irmãos JEL classification : N4; N5; N74; N8; N9; R32; L52.;

    JEL classification:

    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N8 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis


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