Regional and Local Development - (Paper first received, April 2009; in final form, July 2009) The paper deals with the changing features of regional development in the last decades and the changing research approach to them, seeking to identify the contributions of Italian scholars to the international debate. The ‘regional development divide’ of the 1970s induced Italian scholars to shift to analysis of new models of productive organisation underlying the active role of the territory in the development process. A crucial role was played by the model of industrial districts, which stressed that development can be achieved on the basis of SMEs and on specific local resources. The paper also deals with the ‘local productive systems’ determined by a close interaction between economy, society and territory which produces external economies and collective efficiency. The paper concludes by drawing some policy lessons for backward regions.
Keywords: local system, industrial district, endogenous development, external economies
JEL Classification: O18, O20, O30, R12, R58