A Handbook of Industrial Districts
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A Handbook of Industrial Districts

Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis

In this comprehensive original reference work, the editors have brought together an unrivalled group of distinguished scholars and practitioners to comment on the historical and contemporary role of industrial districts (IDs).
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Fabio Sforzi


SECTION 6 Empirical evidence Introduction Fabio Sforzi 1. Mapping as a founding component of the district thesis in Italy This section of the Handbook deals with the mapping of industrial districts (IDs) in Italy, Spain and the UK (Sforzi, Boix and De Propris) and its impact on economic research, in particular with regard to the measurement of the ‘district effect’ (De Blasio, Omiccioli and Signorini) and the internationalisation of IDs (Menghinello). Contrary to what one might think, the mapping of IDs is not an exercise in applied economics, that is to test hypotheses on IDs, but it is the completion of the research path that led Giacomo Becattini and the Florence school to formulate the ID thesis (Becattini 1987). Of course, this applies to the initial mapping of Italian IDs based on data of the 1981 Census, and to the subsequent updates relying on the same analytical framework, albeit with some adjustments due to the experience gradually gained through the validation of results on the ground. This mapping methodology has been a founding component in the formulation of the ID thesis, and it has proved a valuable tool to identify IDs in countries other than Italy; see the chapters by Rafael Boix on Spain and Lisa De Propris on the UK. A meaningful application of the mapping methodology to a country depends, in practice, on the possibility of identifying territorial units of analysis corresponding to its constituent local communities, like Italian local labour market areas (LLMAs). The robustness of results...

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