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International Handbook on Industrial Policy

Edited by Patrizio Bianchi and Sandrine Labory

This timely and much-needed Handbook reconsiders an old topic from a fresh perspective, raising a number of new, interesting and worthwhile issues in the wake of ten years of globalization. This comprehensive analysis illustrates that old-style industrial policies whereby the government directly intervened in markets, and was often the producer itself, are no longer relevant. Structural changes occurring in economies – summarized in the term ‘globalization’ – are triggering the definition and implementation of new industrial policies. The contributors, leading experts in their field, unite to evaluate this shift of over a decade ago.
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Chapter 18: Business Support Policies

Nicola Bellini


Nicola Bellini 1 Introduction This chapter reviews the various analytical approaches to business support policies. Within the general framework of industrial policies, one may identify a set of policies specifically aiming at assisting enterprises or entrepreneurs to develop their businesses successfully and to respond effectively to the challenges of their business, social and physical environment. These policies are different from other policies that, instead of assisting businesses, either regulate or induce (or discourage) a certain kind of behaviour of companies and individuals, although they may be linked to each other not only in strategic, but also in operational, terms. Recent developments show that a large share of industrial policy objectives rely on the appropriate delivery of support policies. This happens especially when SMEs’ policies are concerned with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and technology transfer, or internationalization. The relevance of support policies has been recognized in many countries, mainly at local and regional (or state) level. In several countries, however, support policies are dealt with by national programmes and organizations.1 The development of ‘top class business support services’ has been identified as a priority by the European Commission (CEC, 2001). The importance of business support has been repeatedly emphasized by international organizations such as the OECD and UNIDO2 in the field of economic cooperation and development. Undoubtedly the increased relevance of ‘indirect’ industrial policies owes much to the emergence of the neoliberal consensus in contemporary industrial economies. Support policies are often described as ‘being industry-driven...

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