Globalization, Recession and the Internationalization of Industrial Districts: Experiences from the Italian Gold Jewellery Industry

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Globalization and the recent recession crisis are significantly challenging Italian industrial districts (IDs), leading to deep transformations in their internationalization, innovation and organization strategies. With our empirical focus on a single industry (gold jewellery) and a specific country (Italy) and through the theoretical lenses of the global value chain (GVC) approach, the evidence in this article sheds light on the differences in how three IDs within Italy's gold jewellery sector (Valenza Po, Arezzo and Vicenza) compete in the global arena. Our comparative analysis reveals striking differences among these districts with regard to their upstream and downstream internationalization strategies in response to two industry shocks: increasing global competition in the early 2000s and the world economic recession of 2008-2009. Our explanation for the varied gold jewellery district responses to these two global crises involves both internal and external factors: (1) structural differences between the three IDs; (2) distinct business strategies; and (3) how these districts are linked to the gold jewellery GVC. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.






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De Marchi, Valentina, Joonkoo Lee and Gary Gereffi (2014). Globalization, Recession and the Internationalization of Industrial Districts: Experiences from the Italian Gold Jewellery Industry. European Planning Studies, 22(4). pp. 866–884. 10.1080/09654313.2013.771624 Retrieved from

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Gary Gereffi

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Gary Gereffi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Director of the Global Value Chains Center at Duke University (  He has published over a dozen books and numerous articles on globalization, industrial upgrading, and social and economic development, and he is one of the originators of the global value chains framework.  His most recent books are:  Handbook on Global Value Chains (co-edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2019); and Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the Contours of 21st Century Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  Current projects include:  (1) the impact of U.S. protectionism on jobs and regional trade agreements; (2) evaluating how the digital economy and Industry 4.0 are likely to affect international business strategies and industrial upgrading; and (3) shifting regional interdependencies in East Asia and North America, with a focus on China, South Korea and Mexico vis-à-vis the United States.

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