Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth
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Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth

Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling

Today, economic growth is widely understood to be conditioned by productivity increases which are, in turn, profoundly affected by innovation. This volume explores these key relationships between innovation and growth, bringing together experts from both fields to compile a unique Handbook.
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Chapter 6: Perspectives on Mature Marshallian Industrial Districts

Marco Bellandi


Marco Bellandi* INTRODUCTION The contemporary force of social and business relations, overlapping at the local level, is exemplified by industrial districts (IDs) and especially those: (1) whose industry is based mainly on small and medium-sized specialized firms resulting from local agents’ entrepreneurial and life projects, where economies of the division of labour can possibly be achieved without the extended hierarchical organization of big firms; and (2) whose social dimension is represented by a local society with a well-defined identity for their localized industries, such as to appear like a ‘nation within a nation’ within the flux of change and of open relations (Marshall, 1919, 20–21). This chapter is aimed at presenting a conceptual review of some investigations and interpretations specifically concerned with the cases of IDs in ‘old’ or post-industrialized countries which are ‘mature’ and ‘typical’, and in particular with the ways in which such IDs deal with contemporary globalization and innovation challenges. ‘Typical’ IDs are meant here as localities whose industrial and social features can be more appropriately understood with the help of the so-called ‘Marshallian industrial district’ (MID) model (Becattini, 2004). They are places (often corresponding to a small to medium-sized city, or a set of such cities and their territories) whose collective capabilities for economic growth and social enrichment are based on the development of locally specific technological and professional capabilities and attitudes. The development goes together with progressive differentiation along the sectoral lines of a related set of specialized industrial and trade activities with a...

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