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Cutting Porter's last diamond: competitive and comparative (dis)advantages in the Dutch flower industry. Which lesson for Italian SMEs?


  • Ernesto Tavoletti

    (not available)

  • Robbin te Velde

    (Università di Macerata - Dialogic innovation and interaction)


The Dutch are the world's leaders in the ower business despite they seem to lack comparative advantage in the traditional sense. Comparative advantages paid a role in the history of the Dutch ower industry and they still have a role today. Based on a critic of Porter's theories, the investigation suggests that the exploitation of comparative advantages is allowed only to those rms and industries that already possess a competitive advantage, based on technology, logistics infrastructure, innovation and human skills. So that comparative advantages and competitive advantages join themselves in a sort of helix process based on social innovation and collective learning. The Italian ower industry is both less productive, less innovative, and fragmented in a number of small family businesses. The main lesson to the Italian ower industry is that some regional strategies based just on local comparative advantages is not a rewarding option, unless it is reinforced by a clear competitive advantage strategy, technology and innovation based, that is able to make value out of such comparative local advantages and is also able to exploits and take pro t out of comparative advantages wherever they are abroad.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernesto Tavoletti & Robbin te Velde, 2007. "Cutting Porter's last diamond: competitive and comparative (dis)advantages in the Dutch flower industry. Which lesson for Italian SMEs?," Working Papers 10-2007, Macerata University, Department of Studies on Economic Development (DiSSE), revised Nov 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcr:wpaper:wpaper00010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luciana Lazzeretti & Ernesto Tavoletti, 2005. "Higher Education Excellence and Local Economic Development: The Case of the Entrepreneurial University of Twente," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 475-493, April.
    2. Rip, Arie, 2002. "Regional Innovation Systems and the Advent of Strategic Science," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 123-131, January.
    3. Ernesto Tavoletti, 2005. "Higher education and high intellectual unemployment: does education matter? An interpretation and some critical perspectives," Chapters,in: Regional Economies as Knowledge Laboratories, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. J.A. Lewis, 1988. "Assessing the Effect of the Polytechnic, Wolverhampton on the Local Community," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 25(1), pages 53-61, February.
    5. Andersson, Ake E. & Anderstig, Christer & Harsman, Bjorn, 1990. "Knowledge and communications infrastructure and regional economic change," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 359-376, November.
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    More about this item


    innovation; district; comparative advantages; Dutch flower industry; competitive advantages;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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