The Evolution of Industrial Districts
Italian industrial districts (IDs) recently attracted international attention because their performance during the last few decades contradicted the alleged weakness of industrial structures based on SMEs in "traditional" sectors. The book analyses some developments taking place in Italian IDs and local systems of production that can represent a new stage of evolution for the backbone of the Italian economy. Based on the extensive use of original databases three main trajectories of change in IDs are presented. The first trajectory is the increasing role of "groups" of manufacturing SMEs arising from mergers and acquisitions as well as spin-off growth processes at the "family firms" level. The second one is the consolidation of innovation capabilities in IDs. And the third one is the internationalisation process of Italian IDs through both trade and foreign direct investment. The essays suggest that Italian IDs are again evolving by coherent adaptations which will have, however, uncertain outcomes.