Medium-sized firms, groups and industrial districts: an Italian perspective

Fulvio Coltorti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter analyses Italian industrial districts on the basis of the size of firms by which they are populated. It is observed the emergence and relevance in terms of profitability and competitiveness of a middle capitalism. MSEs presence in district areas is very significant and has expanded in the most recent period. They include stand-alone companies as well as a certain number of industrial groups controlled by family holdings formed by a relatively small number of undertakings; but groups owned by family-holding companies appear to be a significant phenomenon, more so than pure industrial groups. The development in MSEs' presence within industrial districts derives from the new international scenario, where competition has become global and players come either from low industrialized countries or from relocated multinationals' local units. The search for competitiveness has led to a difficult selection of goods to be produced, quality upgrading, a new division of labour with some phases moved outside the industrial districts and a more direct presence in non-Italian markets
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Handbook of Industrial Districts
EditorsG. Becattini, M. Bellandi, L. De Propris
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • business groups
  • districts nature
  • medium-sized firms
  • size of fims


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