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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Chapter 29: Measuring the Internationalisation of Industrial Districts

Stefano Menghinello


Stefano Menghinello 1. Introduction Industrial districts (IDs) in advanced countries have experienced substantial structural changes in the past few decades. They have developed from exportoriented but locally self-contained production systems to globally interdependent production systems rooted in a local context. This metamor hosis has stimulated p a rich theoretical debate on the evolution patterns of IDs (Becattini and Rullani 1993; De Propris, Menghinello and Sugden 2008). While Tattara (in this volume) focuses on the production internationalisation of IDs from an economic point of view, this chapter is devoted to the methodologi al and statistical issues c underlying applied economic analysis on this topic. As is now well understood, the increasing complexity of ID-based inter national linkages amplifies data shortage, traditionally plaguing empirical analysis on IDs. There are essentially three reasons for that. Firstly, the socalled ‘globalisation statistics’ are still at an early stage of development in most countries. Secondly, the measurement of firms’ internationalisation with respect to a very detailed subnational scale raises additional problems in terms of data quality and availability. Thirdly and more interestingly, the shift from the enterprise or the industry to the ID as the reference unit of analysis calls for some substantial complications. For instance, which locally-based business activities and related local economic actors should be consid red for the e measurement of ID internationalisation? This chapter aims to provide some basic guidelines to exploit the most from available data sources. In particular, it highlights how existing data sources can be combined to generate unique...

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