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The Rise of A District Lead Firm: The Case of Wam (1968-2003)


  • Alberto Rinaldi



In recent years a major evolution in several industrial districts in Italy has been the emergence of new hierarchical structures that led to the rise of lead firms. These are firms that - contrary to canonical district firms which tend to remain small - pursue size growth, invest in marketing, distribution and R&D, reorganize their subcontracting networks, and become international by establishing commercial subsidiaries and prodcution facilities abroad. However, despite their increasing importance, lead firms' histories remain largely unexplored. This paper contributes to fill this gap by examining the case of one of such lead firms: Wam, a company set up in 1968 in the mechanical engineering district of Modena, which at the beginning of the 21st century had become the world leader in the production of bulk material handling and dust filtration machinery. This paper in particular focuses on the strategy of growth and internationalization that this company has pursued and its effects in both the host nations and in its Italian ID of origin.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Rinaldi, 2009. "The Rise of A District Lead Firm: The Case of Wam (1968-2003)," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 031, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:031

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    Italy; Industrial Districts; Lead firms; Internationalization.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • P12 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Capitalist Enterprises
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques

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