The Italian Corporate Network, 1952-1983: New Evidence Using the Interlocking Directorates Technique
The paper explores the structure of the Italian corporate network by focusing on the relationships between financial - banks, insurances and holdings - and industrial firms in Italy during the period 1952-83 through the analysis of the interlocks that existed between them. By an interlock is meant the link created between two firms when an induvidual belongs to the board of directors of both. The analysis is based on a database - Imita.db - containing data on over 130,000 directors of Italian joint stock companies for the years 1952, 1960, 1972 and 1983. After showing a descriptive statistics of the companies and the directors included in the database, the paper develops a network connectivity analysis of the system. This is integrated by a prosopographic study about the big linkers, defined as those directors cumulating the highest number of offices in each benchmark year. The paper confirms that the Italian corporate network maintained substantial peculiarities in the period investigated. In particular, it argues that interlocks played an important role in guaranteeing the stability of the positions of control of the major private companies and their connections with State-owned enterprises. In 1952 and 1960, the system, centred on the larger electrical companies, showed the highest degree of cohesion. That centre dissolved after the nationalisation of the electricity industry in 1962 and was replaced by a less strong and cohesive one, hinged on banks, insurances and the major finance companies. At the beginning of the 1980s the centre appeared to have been further reshaped with the marginalisation of state-owned enterprises.
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