Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship

53 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2013

See all articles by Franco Amatori

Franco Amatori

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management

Matteo Bugamelli

Bank of Italy

Andrea Colli

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management

Date Written: October 25, 2011

Abstract

The economic performance of a country depends, among other things, on the strategies and structures of its firms. In the framework that is designed by institutions and policies and determined by technology and macroeconomic cycles, entrepreneurs decide how to allocate available resources in order to face off competitors and to hook up with demand cycles. This paper looks at the evolution of the Italian economy across the last 150 years from a business history perspective. Analyzing Italian firms over the long-term cycles of the global economy and with respect to the different paradigms of the three industrial revolutions, we identify some structural features that explain successes and failures of the Italian economy. In doing this we explicitly connect the micro level of the business enterprise to the macro one of the national business system and explain the comparatively good performance of the Italian economy from the end of the 19th century to the 1970s. Over the last three decades this performance has turned negative, highlighting the role played by the small average size of firms and the failure of institutions to provide incentives for growth.

Keywords: firm size, technological paradigms, innovation, entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: N83, N84, P12, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Amatori, Franco and Bugamelli, Matteo and Colli, Andrea, Italian Firms in History: Size, Technology and Entrepreneurship (October 25, 2011). Bank of Italy Economic History Working Paper No. 13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2236737 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2236737

Franco Amatori

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Matteo Bugamelli (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Andrea Colli

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

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