Social and Industrial Policy Change in Italy and Japan
Edited by Hideko Magara and Stefano Sacchi
Chapter 3: Corporate governance and firm ownership in Italy
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Italian economy has recorded the lowest pace of growth within the European Union (EU) and some traditional industrial sectors have declined or even disappeared. This decline has been ascribed to the fact that the Italian economy is mainly based on traditional manufacturing sectors, which have been most heavily hit by the international competition of emerging economies. Moreover, the Italian case is affected by a low level of investment in research and development (R & D), with the consequence of insufficient increases in productivity and declining opportunities for innovation. After the eruption of the global crisis in 2008, the position of the Italian economy in the international division of labour has mainly relied on the traditional advantages of the design, luxury fashion and jewellery industry, while the automation industry and especially the production of machine tools keep playing an important role. All these sectors have been severely affected by the crisis, but the fact that the Italian economy – like the German one – is more industrial than financial, compared with other major Western economies, has so far prevented the worst consequences. However, this does not avert the long-term effects of the progressive marginalization of the Italian economy within the global system.
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