Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis
Chapter 32: Medium-sized Firms, Groups and Industrial Districts: An Italian Perspective
Fulvio Coltorti* 1. Introduction What is the most likely size of firms to be found when looking at the structure of an industry? In the largest European countries, based on Eurostat statistics firms falling in the size class from 0 to 49 employees (that is, small enterprises, SEs) accounted for a share of the total which in 2003 ranged from 90 per cent in Germany to 98 per cent in Italy; while in the US, based on figures from the most recent Census carried out in 2004, the share for this size class was 94 per cent if SEs are defined as firms with up to 99 employees. Enterprises with more than 499 employees (that is, large enterprises, LEs) accounted for just 1.4 per cent in the US and between 0.3 per cent (Italy) and 2.1 per cent (Germany) in Europe. A different picture emerges if we look at the distribution of employees: LEs account for 59 per cent of the total in the US and between 22–26 per cent (Italy and Spain) and 44–54 per cent (France, UK and Germany) in Europe; the share of SEs falls to 50–56 per cent in Italy and Spain, and to 22.5–31.0 per cent in France, the UK and Germany. Medium-sized enterprises (MSEs) account for 21–25 per cent in Europe and 17.5 per cent in the US (not including the 50–99 size class in the case of the latter, for which no details are available). In short,...
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