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The outbreak of the recent crisis that began at the end of the last decade eventually uncovered the problems that almost all Western economies had been able to camouflage thanks to economic growth fueled by an unprecedented expansion in the financial industry. Within this context the Italian economy is a special case: its annual growth rate has been lower than that of its traditional partners and competitors for the last 15 years. Even the most optimistic forecasts for the next several years do not indicate significant improvements in the Italian competitive position. The success it enjoyed following its participation in the European Monetary Union brought to the fore the structural backwardness of the Italian economy, which is the main reason behind its low growth rates. The complexity and costs investors face when starting a business, the complexity and inefficiency of the fiscal, credit, and the legal systems, the difficulties associated with investor protection are only some of the obstacles that entrepreneurs face at the time of investing in Italy. More recently, we need to add a new weakness, that – until a few years ago – was considered a key factor in its success, i.e., the size of Italian firms.
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See Calcagnini and Favaretto ( 2011).
See (Favaretto 1995).
The low growth rates of the Italian GDP depend on a stagnating productivity. The latter, between 1997 and 2007, increased on average by 0.4%, that is less than one-third of the EU-15 and one-fourth of the German one.
The Pavitt (1984) taxonomy of industrial sectors categorizes industries according to determinants and patterns of technological change. It uses the nature and sources of innovation, technology user types and means of appropriability as central factors used in industry classification. The Pavitt taxonomy categorizes firms into four groups: (1) scale-intensive, (2) supplier-dominated, (3) specialized-supplier and (4) science-based.
By the term ‘industrial district’ we mean a socio – territorial entity characterized by the active co-presence, in a confined area with natural and historical properties, of a community of people and a population of industrial firms (Becattini 1989). Accordingly to its orthodox definition, the industrial district model is based on the presence of only one type of industry, together with a set of economies external to firms, but internal to the industry. These economies came out of the deconstruction of the production process (and in a corresponding manner the division of labor) within each industry (Fadda 2010). However, the industrial district model does not consider that today significant and increasing advantages are possible thanks to the positive externalities coming from the co-presence, within an industrial district, of more industries and the economies linked to material and immaterial public goods connected to a specific area (Favaretto 2003).
According to ISTAT ( 2010a) the turning point occurs in 2003.
See Rombaldoni’s chapter in this volume.
The restructuring was forced by the increase in international competition and by new opportunities created by the concomitance of technological revolution, globalization, and European integration by means of the adoption of a single currency (euro) at the end of the 1990s. The restructuring process was characterized by product and process innovations, and the increase in the degree of internationalization of Italian firms. See Brandolini et al. ( 2010).
Banca d’Italia ( 2010), p. 5.
The need to better understand the role of SMEs linked to outsourcing processes is well stressed by Accetturo et al. ( 2011, pp. 9–10). They recognize the existence of empirical evidence according to which, on one hand, SMEs play a marginal role within the Italian manufacturing industry, have low productivity levels and capital intensity. On the other, the authors show empirical results according to which SMEs are a heterogeneous aggregate where supplier-dominated firms coexist with innovating firms, in firms oriented to foreign markets, and in those with high productivity levels.
The X-12 ARIMA method was firstly applied to the monthly industrial production index, and then quarterly averages of monthly data were calculated.
Recently, the Istituto di Studi e Analisi Economica (ISAE), which had previously incorporated the Istituto per lo Studio della Congiuntura (ISCO), has itself been incorporated into the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). In the text, we will refer to data originally provided by ISAE as ISAE/ISTAT.
Table 5 shows the first quarter of 1965 as the beginning of the first business cycle, even though we only have data on capacity utilization starting from the last quarter of 1968. Therefore, calculations shown refer to the period 1968.4-1971.4.
According to the World Bank 2011 report “Doing Business”, Italy ranks 80th (falling 4 positions with respect to the previous year) among 183 countries where the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of local firms. More recent data (as of June 2011) show a further worsening of the Italian ranking ( http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings).
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- The Italian Small- and Medium-Sized Firms in the Aftermath of the Crisis
- Physica-Verlag HD
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