Industrial districts and the collapse of the marshallian model: Looking at the italian experience

Valentina De Marchi, Roberto Grandinetti

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


In the last 15 years, Italy's industrial districts (IDs) have been undergoing profound changes. Based on a number of empirical studies, this article analyzes several phenomena now amply evident in Italian IDs, including globalization and its effects on the firm population of each district and its fabric of interorganizational relationships; the impact of immigration on how the social structure and the production structure mutually interpenetrate; the shrinking reproducibility of the entrepreneurial factor; the diversification of the local production structure; an increased concentration of the turnover and workforce within the districts; and a weakening of the fabric of relations between enterprises. The combined effect of these phenomena has been to dismantle the Marshallian model that once characterized the majority of Italian IDs. Given this picture, the article focuses on the directions now being taken by these districts. By systematizing evidence emerging from existing studies on various single districts, we identify four scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-87
Number of pages18
JournalCompetition and Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cluster
  • Global value chain
  • Globalization
  • Industrial atmosphere
  • Italy
  • Marshallian industrial district


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