New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazzeretti
Chapter 5: Collective Trademarks and Cultural Districts: The Case of San Gregorio Armeno, Naples
Tiziana Cuccia, Massimo Marrelli and Walter Santagata1 1. INTRODUCTION From an economic point of view, trademarks are distinctive symbols which facilitate trade (Landes and Posner, 1987). On the one hand, they enable consumers to easily recognize the goods they are going to buy, thus reducing transaction costs; on the other hand, they allow producers to highlight their products and to positively invest in reputation (Shapiro, 1983). This is the traditional role of trademarks, both individual and collective. However, the role of these distinctive marks is much more complex when they are used as instruments for the promotion and enhancement of cultural districts. There are many cases of localized agglomerations of micro and small ﬁrms which may be considered as districts. They generate a network of positive externalities able to sustain an endogenous process of local development – the main reference here is to the industrial cultural districts of what is known as ‘Terza Italia’, which had its boom periods in the 1960s and 1970s (Bagnasco, 1988; Becattini, 1987; 1989). Moreover, there are many other cases where the localized agglomerations of ﬁrms – based on the idiosyncrasies of the territory – have not been able to build that social and economic network of horizontal and vertical linkages among local producers which gives rise to the agglomeration externalities on which the district model is founded. In these cases, which may be called ‘potential cultural districts’, institutional interventions play an important role in turning the potential district into a real one, for example through the introduction...
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