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Units of investigation for local economic development policies


  • Russo, Margherita


The idea that industry is not an adequate research unit in the analysis of development pol-icy is well known. It was present in the tradition of regional economists working on the con-cept of industrial complex, in Perroux’ theory of the pole of development, in Damhen’s defi-nition of development blocks, and in the view of development put forward by Hirschman. Nevertheless, even if they have typified the development policies of many countries in the past decades, the notions of industrial complex and pole of development now seem less effec-tive than the notion of industrial district. This notion, which emerged during the Eighties in the interpretation of the development of certain Italian regions, is gaining wide acceptance in the Anglo-American literature on development policies and in the literature investigating the “hybrid forms of organization” that are neither market, nor hierarchically coordinated. Comparing the notions of industrial complex and pole of development, this article intends to offer a preliminary outline of the conditions in which the notion of industrial district can become an effective tool for analysis and formulation of development policy. L'idée que l'industrie seule ne constitue pas une unité de recherche suffisante dans l'analyse des politiques de développement est bien connue. On constate sa présence dans la tradition des économistes dont les recherches se concentrent sur les régions et qui s'occupent du concept de complexe d'industries, dans la théorie de Perroux sur le pôle de développement, dans la définition de Dahmen du bloc de développement, et dans la vision du développement proposée par Hirschman. Quoiqu'elles caractérisent depuis des décennies les politiques de dé-veloppement de beaucoup de pays, les notions de complexe d'industries et de pôle de déve-loppement semblent moins efficaces que la notion de district industriel. Cette notion, qui émerge dans les années quatre-vingts dans l'analyse du développement de certaines régions d'Italie, s'impose de plus en plus à l'attention dans la littérature anglo-américaine sur les politi-ques de croissance et dans les études sur des formes hybrides d'organisation qui ne sont coor-données ni selon le marché ni selon une hiérarchie. Mettant la notion du complexe d'industries en comparaison avec celle du pôle de dévelop-pement, cet article propose de donner un aperçu des conditions dans lesquelles la notion de district industriel peut devenir un outil efficace pour l'analyse et la formulation des politiques de développement.

Suggested Citation

  • Russo, Margherita, 1996. "Units of investigation for local economic development policies," MPRA Paper 2016, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Herbert A. Simon, 1991. "Organizations and Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bellandi, Marco, 2000. "Local Development, Big Firms And Social Capital," ERSA conference papers ersa00p380, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Margherita Russo & Giorgio Allari & Silvano Bertini & Paolo Bonaretti & Elio De Leo & Giuseppe Fiorani & Gianni Rinaldini, 2000. "The Challenges For The Next Decade: Notes On The Debate On The Development Of The Emilia-Romagna Region," Working Papers wp176, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item


    local development; industrial districts; units of investigation for policy;

    JEL classification:

    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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