An evolutionary analysis of industrial districts: the changing multiplicity of production know-how nuclei

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  • Fondazione per la Ricerca e l’Innovazione
  • Università Degli Studi di Firenze


This paper deals with the evolution of place-based division of labour, considering in particular the dynamics of differentiated pools of knowledge that can be embedded in local production systems such as industrial districts. Drawing on conceptual framework of Marshallian industrial districts, the paper develops a model that links knowledge dynamics to possible tendencies towards either industrial progress, lock-in, transition or decline of such systems. The model is complemented by a related new statistical method that allows us to analyse the evolution of the multiplicity of production know-how nuclei inside industrial districts. The methodology is applied to two cases: the ceramics district of Stoke-on-Trent (UK) and the textile district of Prato (ITA) over the period 2005–2013.


Original languageEnglish
Article numberbey012
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalCambridge Journal of Economics
Issue number1
Early online date18 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • industrial district , productive knowledge , local change , prato textile district , Stoke-on-Trent ceramics district