The Technological Evolution of Industrial Districts
The Technological Evolution of Industrial Districts collects a wide array of theoretical and empirical contributions on the issue of industrial districts and gives insights into the complexity of industrial clustering, which has received growing international attention in the last decade. The industrial district model has been acknowledged as a tool of local growth. Using this background, the contributors deal with the dynamics of economic and social processes that generate the various possible patterns of evolution at a local level. The authors analyze districts not just as spatial concentrations of specific industries but also as organizational forms that are created throughout an historical process rooted in the economic and social dimension of a specific place. This is the basis, they argue, on which activities, skills, knowledge, innovation, and institutions are settled, and continuously changed, in reaction to endogenous drifts and exogenous shocks. IDs are viewed here as densely populated industry-specific organizations composed of complementary enterprises, territorial identity, embedded institutions, trust, and social capital. In other words, the ID "formula" goes back to the idea of an existing "dominant" industry (or product) specialization in the territory and a close "community" of people and firms co-located in a small area that is typically smaller than a province. Starting from the Marshallian concept of clustering, the book incorporates the more recent literature on clusters, proposing a distinction among these terms often used as synonymous.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I provides a background discussion of the theory of industrial districts, bringing into the traditional Italian approach the Nordic studies based on the theory of knowledge-based organizations and the institutional perspective of the French regulation school. Part II, the book's core, develops a cognitive approach to the theory of industrial districts. Part III presents some empirical evidence on the new evolutionary design of traditional and high-tech industrial districts localized in Italy and in France.
This volume will be particularly useful as a reference work for policy makers and as a supplemental text for courses in applied economics and business, industrial organization, industrial districts/clusters management, and network economics.