This article advances an analysis on Italian industrial districts economy trends, giving several empirical and conceptual references in support of a specific thesis: this pattern of local organization of production is still thriving, but it needs to accelerate the evolution to-ward more advanced organizational, technological and institutional assets. The article car-ries out a review on current economic literature and displays results of an econometric analysis on Italian local productive systems that make evident the capacity to withstand in face of economic crisis, but also the existence of structural change processes. For instance, we examine the emerging role of leader firms, the growth of services economy close to manufacture, and the evolution of specialization economies in to variety ones. The conclu-sions suggest the utility to integrate traditional marshallian analysis with the neo-schumpeterian approach on economic innovation and entrepreneurship.
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