The evolution of the Italian economy until the Second World War led to a dualistic industrial structure, determined by a small group of public and private large-sized enterprises, which operated in the capital-intensive basic sectors, and a large number of small-sized firms, which autonomously grew, developing more traditional labour intensive activities, which were scarcely influenced by either the public policies or the decisions of the main national financial centres. Even the subsequent developments, during the years of the so-called Italian economic miracle, did not radically change this distribution: at the beginning of the 1960s, the industrial structure of Italy still shared some characteristics with those of under-developed countries. In particular, it was possible to register a significant delay in the process of dimensional convergence towards large-scale production which, in contrast, was common to other European countries. During the 1970s, the situation radically changed both at national and at international level, but not in the direction hoped for by the advocates of the dimensional growth. Throughout this decade, in fact, a series of exogenous and endogenous shocks – the former, associated with the technological transformations, with the petroleum crises (which mainly penalised the energy intensive sectors), with the increasing integration of the markets, and the equally sudden increase in macro-economic instability; the latter with the gradual tightening of the work factor and the progressive saturation of the internal market – favoured the crisis of public enterprises and the withdrawal of the large private enterprises, thus simultaneously promoting the re-emergence of more traditional sectors through the action of smaller enterprises. However, these smaller enterprises were able to succeed in containing pressure from foreign manufacturers over the years by concentrating on the higher segments of the very sectors in which they operated. The paper, using a seriate homogeneous source, which allow to identify the single enterprises, analyses the developments of Italian medium-sized manufacturing firms in the long term, trying to understand if their growth is linked to their sectoral specialisation, to the adoption of a particular technological regime or to their own particular history; if - in other words - the medium-sized enterprises have some common characteristics that could justify their positioning into an intermediate size category or if their evolution is to be related to their specific reaction to the transformation of the external environment. The first part of the paper copes with the thorny issue of the definition of medium-sized enterprise, a problem that exists both at national and international level; the second chapter describes the solution adopted and the chosen data source; in the third chapter the results of the analysis are presented and finally some brief conclusions are introduced.

The medium-sized manufacturing enterprise (1927-1981)

LAVISTA, FABIO DARIO
2010

Abstract

The evolution of the Italian economy until the Second World War led to a dualistic industrial structure, determined by a small group of public and private large-sized enterprises, which operated in the capital-intensive basic sectors, and a large number of small-sized firms, which autonomously grew, developing more traditional labour intensive activities, which were scarcely influenced by either the public policies or the decisions of the main national financial centres. Even the subsequent developments, during the years of the so-called Italian economic miracle, did not radically change this distribution: at the beginning of the 1960s, the industrial structure of Italy still shared some characteristics with those of under-developed countries. In particular, it was possible to register a significant delay in the process of dimensional convergence towards large-scale production which, in contrast, was common to other European countries. During the 1970s, the situation radically changed both at national and at international level, but not in the direction hoped for by the advocates of the dimensional growth. Throughout this decade, in fact, a series of exogenous and endogenous shocks – the former, associated with the technological transformations, with the petroleum crises (which mainly penalised the energy intensive sectors), with the increasing integration of the markets, and the equally sudden increase in macro-economic instability; the latter with the gradual tightening of the work factor and the progressive saturation of the internal market – favoured the crisis of public enterprises and the withdrawal of the large private enterprises, thus simultaneously promoting the re-emergence of more traditional sectors through the action of smaller enterprises. However, these smaller enterprises were able to succeed in containing pressure from foreign manufacturers over the years by concentrating on the higher segments of the very sectors in which they operated. The paper, using a seriate homogeneous source, which allow to identify the single enterprises, analyses the developments of Italian medium-sized manufacturing firms in the long term, trying to understand if their growth is linked to their sectoral specialisation, to the adoption of a particular technological regime or to their own particular history; if - in other words - the medium-sized enterprises have some common characteristics that could justify their positioning into an intermediate size category or if their evolution is to be related to their specific reaction to the transformation of the external environment. The first part of the paper copes with the thorny issue of the definition of medium-sized enterprise, a problem that exists both at national and international level; the second chapter describes the solution adopted and the chosen data source; in the third chapter the results of the analysis are presented and finally some brief conclusions are introduced.
9781847203830
A. Colli, M. Vasta
Forms of enterprise in the 20th century Italy. Boundaries, structures and strategies
Lavista, FABIO DARIO
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/3718335
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