Outsourcing and firm productivity: evidence for an Italian local production system
The paper investigates empirically the impact that outsourcing strategies have on the labour productivity of firms embedded in a local production system characterized by idiosyncratic techno-economic and organizational features. A diachronic cross-section econometric model of the productivity impact of outsourcing is applied to a sample of firms based in the local production system (LPS) of Reggio Emilia (RE) (in Emilia Romagna, Italy). The application confirms some of the results the empirical literature reports for other no or less context specific empirical applications, in particular their dependency on the kind of outsourced activities, the internationalization of the outsourcing firm and time horizon of the productivity effects. On the other hand, when the actual extent at which the different kinds of activities are outsourced is retained, important exceptions to these results are obtained: the positive impact of the externalization of manufacturing activities is the most relevant and the most consistent with the district nature of the investigated LPS.
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