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Italian industrial districts: a model of success or a weak productive system?


  • Schilirò, Daniele


The present contribution focuses on two issues. The first one concerns the characteristics of industrial districts and the increasing weight of these districts in the Italian system of production. The second issue is about the competitiveness of the Italian industrial districts, if they represent a model of success or rather a weak system of production. Thus, the transformation of the industrial districts is examined and the strengths and weaknesses are highlighted. One argument that comes out of this investigation is that industrial districts are strongly influenced by institutions, territory, and also by the social and cultural environment. The second argument regards the competitiveness of this Italian industrial development model, based on SMEs, which is founded on the specialization of productions, on innovation and internationalization. The paper argues that this model, which represents the “Made in Italy”, is still a strong and dynamic system which has shown good performances and it represents a paradigm of lasting competitiveness, even if it is restrained by many external chronic constraints.

Suggested Citation

  • Schilirò, Daniele, 2009. "Italian industrial districts: a model of success or a weak productive system?," MPRA Paper 40070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40070

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schilirò, Daniele, 2005. "Economia della conoscenza,istituzioni e sviluppo economico [Knowledge-based economy, institutions and economic development]," MPRA Paper 31492, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Storper, Michael & Harrison, Bennett, 1991. "Flexibility, hierarchy and regional development: The changing structure of industrial production systems and their forms of governance in the 1990s," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 407-422, October.
    3. Daniele Schilirò, 2008. "I distretti industriali in Italia quale Modello di Sviluppo Locale: Aspetti evolutivi, potenzialità e criticità," CRANEC - Working Papers del Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale crn0803, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale (CRANEC).
    4. David, Paul A., 1994. "Why are institutions the 'carriers of history'?: Path dependence and the evolution of conventions, organizations and institutions," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 205-220, December.
    5. Schilirò, Daniele, 2007. "La crescita in Italia dopo l’euro: quali riforme? [Growth in Italy after the euro: which reforms?]," MPRA Paper 39482, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Daniele Schilirò, 2007. "Knowledge, Learning, Networks and Performance of Firms in Knowledge-Based Economies," CRANEC - Working Papers del Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale crn0702, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Centro di Ricerche in Analisi economica e sviluppo economico internazionale (CRANEC).
    7. Daniele Schilirò, 2006. "Teorie circolari e teorie verticali della dinamica economica strutturale: verso uno schema di carattere generale," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 51-80.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schilirò, Daniele, 2013. "I patti di sviluppo dei distretti produttivi in Sicilia: 2011-2013 [The development pacts of productive districts in Siciliy: 2011-2013]," MPRA Paper 43678, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Schilirò, Daniele, 2011. "Le banche popolari cooperative [The popular co-operative banks]," MPRA Paper 44213, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Schilirò, Daniele, 2012. "I nuovi patti di sviluppo dei distretti produttivi in Sicilia. Prime note [The new development pacts of the productive districts in Sicily. Preliminary notes]," MPRA Paper 42663, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Schilirò, Daniele, 2017. "Italian industrial districts: theories, profiles and competitiveness," MPRA Paper 86729, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Industrial districts; small and medium enterprises; competitiveness; innovation; local development; internationalization;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance


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