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Opening the black box of Entrepreneurship: the Italian case in a historical perspective

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  • Pier Angelo Toninelli

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  • Michelangelo Vasta

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Abstract

The main objective of this paper is to shed light on the Italian entrepreneurship between the beginning of the Second industrial revolution and the end of the XX century. It is based on a new dataset concerning the profiles of 386 entrepreneurs. The results are twofold: first, by proposing an empirical based-taxonomy of Italian entrepreneurs not exclusively based on intuitions and qualitative judgments, we provide valuable interpretative elements; second, we put forward some hypothesis about the relationship between entrepreneurship and Italian economic growth. In particular we perform a Cluster Analysis which singles out five different entrepreneurial typologies characterized by a widespread tendency to searching for new markets, yet a scarce attitude towards innovation. Further we suggest that the evolution of the institutional context slowed down the development of the entrepreneurial abilities and virtues necessary to grow.

Suggested Citation

  • Pier Angelo Toninelli & Michelangelo Vasta, 2011. "Opening the black box of Entrepreneurship: the Italian case in a historical perspective," Department of Economics University of Siena 628, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:628
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Freeman, Chris & Louca, Francisco, 2002. "As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251056.
    2. Simeon Djankov & Yingyi Qian & Gérard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Entrepreneurship in China and Russia Compared," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, pages 352-365.
    3. Baumol, William J., 1996. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, unproductive, and destructive," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, pages 3-22.
    4. Richard N. Langlois, 2003. "The vanishing hand: the changing dynamics of industrial capitalism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, pages 351-385.
    5. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 60-85.
    6. Chirinko, Robert S. & Elston, Julie Ann, 2006. "Finance, control and profitability: the influence of German banks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 69-88.
    7. Walter Friedman & Richard Tedlow, 2003. "Statistical portraits of American business elites: a review essay," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 89-113.
    8. Henrekson, Magnus & Sanandaji, Tino, 2010. "Institutional Entrepreneurship: An Introduction," Working Paper Series 853, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    9. Simeon Djankov & Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Entrepreneurship in Brazil, China, and Russia," Working Papers w0066, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Di Martino & Michelangelo Vasta, 2012. "Happy 150th Birthday Italy? Institutions and Economic Performance Since 1861," Department of Economics University of Siena 662, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2012. "The Ghost in the Attic? The Italian National Innovation System in Historical Perspective, 1861-2011," Department of Economics University of Siena 665, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    3. Nuvolari, Alessandro & Vasta, Michelangelo, 2015. "The Ghost in the Attic? The Italian National Innovation System in Historical Perspective, 1861–2011," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, pages 270-290.
    4. Felice, Emanuele & Lepore, Amedeo, 2016. "State intervention and economic growth in Southern Italy: the rise and fall of the «Cassa per il Mezzogiorno» (1950-1986)," MPRA Paper 69466, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    History of Entrepreneurship; Italian capitalism;

    JEL classification:

    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N84 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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