IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trade as a cultural identity aspect in a city. A case study on Catania


  • Caterina Cirelli


  • Leonardo Mercatanti


  • Carmelo Maria Porto


  • Elena Di Blasi


  • Enrico Nicosia



In the present-day post-industrial society and in a globalised economy there is a strong tendency towards standardization and homologation. If we consider one of the most traditional urban functions - the commercial one - analysing what is happening in the centre of the cities of all the developed countries of the world, we notice a process of standardization regarding the offer, both in the sense of the single articles sold and in the sense of the commercial area in all its complexity (uniformity of the showcases for the exposure, diminution of the historical shops with sale of distinctive articles, diffusion of the branches of national and international chains and the phenomenon of franchising). Therefore, the central areas of our cities tend to be more and more alike. Obviously this is fruit of a more complex process, that is concretized in the tendency towards the diversification of the distributive network through the rapid diffusion of hypermarkets and commercial centres in the outskirts of cities and in the changed behaviour of the consumers, more and more directed to American styles of consumption. What kind of role will the more traditional commercial structures that characterize the Italian historical centres have in the future? Despite the fact that these last ones are, at the moment, under considerable pressure that pushes towards a more radical change, there is the possibility however that the particular "commercial landscape" that characterizes them could itself become a new model of development capable of promoting the urban culture, close to the functionalistic model, currently in expansion, totally directed towards the peripheral spaces. Catania is a city where we find, to a great extent, the evolutionary characteristics of the southern urban system, but in which we find even more the changes and the tendencies present in the cities of the more developed regions when processes of decentralization of economic activities, residential activities and of the social structures are outlined. The commercial patrimony of Catania, besides the cultural one, represents one of the pivots on which the identity of the city is based. It represents a resource for the development of the town and a stimulation of tourism. This research investigates the solidity and the potentialities of traditional commerce in the central areas of the city of Catania in relation to the dynamics of development of the external commercial centres.

Suggested Citation

  • Caterina Cirelli & Leonardo Mercatanti & Carmelo Maria Porto & Elena Di Blasi & Enrico Nicosia, 2004. "Trade as a cultural identity aspect in a city. A case study on Catania," ERSA conference papers ersa04p583, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p583

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mezzetti, Claudio & Dinopoulos, Elias, 1991. "Domestic unionization and import competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 79-100, August.
    2. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1995. "Tackling the European Migration Problems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
    3. Fuest, Clemens & Thum, Marcel, 2001. "Immigration and skill formation in unionised labour markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 557-573, September.
    4. McCormick, Barry & Wahba, Jackline, 2000. "Overseas Employment and Remittances to a Dual Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 509-534, April.
    5. Zhao, Laixun, 2001. "Quantitative Trade Restrictions in Unionized Economies," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 81-93, February.
    6. Bond, Eric W. & Chen, Tain-Jy, 1987. "The welfare effects of illegal immigration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 315-328, November.
    7. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1985. "International Trade and Labor Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 691-707, September.
    8. Fuest, Clemens & Thum, Marcel, 2000. "Welfare effects of immigration in a dual labor market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 551-563, September.
    9. Djajic, Slobodan, 1987. "Illegal aliens, unemployment and immigration policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 235-249, February.
    10. Chi-Chur Chao & Eden S.H. Yu, 2002. "Immigration and Welfare for the Host Economy with Imperfect Competition," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 327-338.
    11. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 258-262, May.
    12. Brecher, Richard A. & Choudhri, Ehsan U., 1987. "International migration versus foreign investment in the presence of unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 329-342, November.
    13. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "Urban Employment and Wage Determination in LDC's: Trade Unions in the Harris-Todaro Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(1), pages 65-81, February.
    14. Djajic, Slobodan, 1986. "International migration, remittances and welfare in a dependent economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 229-234, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p583. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.