Table of Contents

Entrepreneurship, Social Capital and Governance

Entrepreneurship, Social Capital and Governance

Directions for the Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Regions

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough

This book highlights the role of entrepreneurship, social capital and governance for regional economic development. In recent decades, many researchers have claimed that entrepreneurship is the most critical factor in sustaining regional economic growth. However, most entrepreneurship research is undertaken without considering the fundamental importance of the regional context. Other research has emphasized the role of social capital but there are substantial problems in empirically relating measures of social capital to regional economic development.

Chapter 14: Technological adjustments in the textile, clothes and leather industries: an alternative pathway for competitiveness

Marisa Cesário and Maria Teresa de Noronha Vaz

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics

Extract

The importance of the textile, clothing and leather (TCL) sectors in Europe is obvious. As an industry based predominantly on small and mediumsized enterprises (SME) with an annual turnover of more than €230 billion produced by around 273 000 enterprises, these sectors employ more than 3 million people in the European Union (EU)-27.1 The liberalization process following the signing of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement has increased import penetration in these sectors, with the EU industry experiencing serious difficulties in competing with foreign operators working with lower labour costs and less stringent social and environmental regulations (COM, 2004). These new economic conditions have been forcing a restructuring in these industries. The ability to react and to adjust technologically to the challenges of these harder market conditions is what determines whether a region is a producer of high-value-added goods or a mere subcontractor. Although delocalization is a common threat, industrial agglomerations in low-cost countries are related to inferior working conditions, while in economically advanced countries the expansion of more skilled forms of work in the fashion-intensive production centres could compensate the further job loss. In fact, alternative employment opportunities may arise from complementary areas linked to technological innovations, and although one can expect further job decline in manufacturing productive units, the creation of high-qualification jobs in complementary areas, such as design, marketing, retail and management, may also be expected (Scott, 2006).

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