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Title: Industrial innovation and firm development in Italy : the Veneto case.
Author: Belussi, Fiorenza.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3457 0560
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1992
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In recent years there has been a considerable interest, both theoretical and empirical, on the analysis of the nature, sources, and speed of diffusion of technological change, stemming from the importance of technological activities in determining the economic performance of the most industrialised market economies. During the last decade, at the international level, two models in particular have attracted attention for their dramatic path of growth: the Japanese system and the "Third Italy" model, the latter based on small firm development and on an extensive inter-firm division of labour. This thesis explores "empirically" the nature of technological capacities in a selected sample of more than 100 firms located in one of the regions more representative of the "Third Italy" model - the Veneto region - and shows the (partially achieved) process of technological catching-up. It develops a rich range of indicators for testing the innovative capability of firms, which derive from an ample reflection on the nature of the industrial innovation and the determinants of industrial organisation, conducted in the first two (theoretical) chapters. Links to strategy, organisation, and firm competitiveness are also highlighted. The author examines in chapters 3~ 4, 5, and 6 the performance of the industrial structure analysed, where R&D activities scores very low, showing the various models of firms' technological learning, the importance of innovation acquisition, and the weight of internal improvements in driving the, evolutionary strategy of each individual firm. In the light of the "Third Italy" debate, which emerged after the Piore and Sabel publication in 1984, the thesis challenges the over-simplistic explanation of the ,existence of small-based industrial structures. This research illustrates the main factors structuring growth and size, and the recent tendency found towards the re-centralisation of the industrial structure. This work follows the seminal contribution of Pavitt (1984), where some regularities were found, within specific groups of firms ("science based", "scale intensive", "specialised suppliers", "scale intensiveltraditional", and "traditional"). In our sample, the prevailing small-size of firms appeared strongly correlated to the diffused presence of fIrms belonging to "traditional sectors" and to "specialised suppliers". In this perspective, the firms' evolution does not seem to be related at all to the adoption of non-Fordist techniques, but it derives from: a) the origin and rate of growth of the industrial structure, b) the influence of the firm's "governance", c) the sectoral inter-firm division of labour, d) the extent of the market, and, e) dynamically, the exploitation of technological change. In chapter 7, an econometric test has been applied to verify the positive relationship between innovation and firm growth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics & economic theory