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Understanding the industrial districts

Understanding reality not just in order to predict its future but above all to understand the measures to be taken to make sure this future is the best possible. All this naturally also on the basis of past experience. This is an economic analysis approach which can in itself also make up corporate culture. However the right instruments are needed to understand what lies around us.

An example of what can be done comes from the University of Padua (statistics department, specialist degree course in statistics) which has supported the research contained in the dissertation by Stefania Sorato: “Evolution models of industrial districts. Comparison between literature and empirical proof for three districts in the Veneto region”.

The author writes: “understanding the changes underway in the districts, reading them and using them to define more targeted projects for maintaining competitiveness in the new global context are increasingly precious and required skills”. Hence the meaning of the work which takes into consideration, after a solid basis of theoretical analysis, the development of three manufacturing districts in the Veneto, outlining both their technical and management and cultural aspects. This is the analysis of the evolution of the areas of sports equipment of Montebelluna, eyewear in Belluno and gold working in Vicenza. “These districts”, the dissertation explains, “are specialised in different types of production yet which can be linked to the wider sector of fashion, one of the production sectors which has been most affected by the new features of the economic context and which is being changed the most by them”. The question which the work seeks to answer is simple: what has changed during these years?

The results obtained were the product of the application of various statistics techniques, starting from the descriptive and exploratory analysis of the data, via the calculation of a series of economic indicators, up to the techniques of the survival analysis of companies. A focus on five variables, number of firms, number of employees, presence of leader firms, dynamic companies and institutional stakeholders, allowing a description of the main “district dynamics” and therefore an understanding of not only the development but also the prospects of the single areas. As well as the specific results for each district, what counts in the research is however the method and the way of leading the reader along a path with some difficulties. Useful, for example, are the summary tables (the “evolution paths”) of the features of every district which go to mark a summary index of evolution which gives meaning to everything.

The work by Stefania Sorato is detailed yet easy read, supplying clear and useful information.

I modelli evolutivi dei distretti industriali. Confronto tra letteratura ed evidenze empiriche per tre distretti veneti  

Stefania Sorato (University of Padua, statistics department, specialist degree course in statistics)

Degree dissertation, A.A. 2013-2014