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The Emilian Model Revisited: Twenty Years After


  • Alberto Rinaldi



In the early 1980s Emilia-Romagna drew wide attention as a case of successful industrialisation based on small and medium-sized firms clustered in industrial districts intermingled with social cohesion and integration assured by the hegemonic role played by the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in the region. Twenty years after, the Emilian economy seems to have regenerated its competitive advantage. This resulted from important changes involving both the industrial structure and the governance structure. As to the former, a restructuring of local industry led to the formation of business groups, the rise of lead firms, the emergence of distant networks, the introduction of computer-based technologies, and an increasing variety in the evolutionary paths of the various districts. As to the latter, the disappearance of a Communist political subculture and the transformation of the ruling party from the PCI into fistly the PDS and then the DS brought about a change in the governance structure which was marked by an increased reliance on business associations in both designing and managing industrial policies. As a result, these shifted towards a market-driven approach, focused on induvidual firms and, above all, lead firms rather than industrial districts.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Rinaldi, 2002. "The Emilian Model Revisited: Twenty Years After," Department of Economics 0417, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:depeco:0417

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    Cited by:

    1. Colli, Andrea & Rinaldi, Alberto, 2015. "Institutions, Politics, and the Corporate Economy," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 249-269, June.
    2. López-Estornell,Manuel & Barberá-Tomás,David & García-Reche,Andrés & Mas-Verdú,Francisco, 2012. "Evolution of innovation policy in Emilia-Romagna and Valencia: Similar reality, similar results?," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201210, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
    3. Sandrine Labory & Patrizio Bianchi, 2014. "The institutional framework of Industrial policies," Working Papers 2014203, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    4. Cocchi, Andrea, 2011. "Business models as systemic instruments for the evolution of traditional districts?," MPRA Paper 33766, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Steven Toms & John Wilson, 2012. "Revisiting Chandler on the Theory of the Firm," Chapters, in: Michael Dietrich & Jackie Krafft (ed.),Handbook on the Economics and Theory of the Firm, chapter 22, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Anna Natali & Margherita Russo, 2011. "Districts and Industrial Policies. What We Can Learn from Sebastiano Brusco," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, September.
    7. Jordi Catalan & Ramon Ramon-Munoz, 2011. "The origins of Made in Spain fashion. The competitive advantage of the textile, apparel and footwear districts since the Golden Age," Working Papers in Economics 265, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    8. Clara Turner & Marco R Di Tommaso & Chiara Pollio & Karen Chapple, 2020. "Who will win the electric vehicle race? The role of place-based assets and policy," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 35(4), pages 337-362, June.

    More about this item


    Emilia-Romagna; Industrial Districts; Lead Firms; Business Associations; Governance; Industrial Polocies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy


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