Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Master's Degree Programme on INTERNATIONAL TRADE & COOPERATION
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 


Course description

This course aims to provide students with advanced knowledge and critical analysis skills on networks of firms, from a theoretical viewpoint as well as through case studies. Competences formed will find application, after the course, in the following domains:
− SWOT analysis applied to industrial districts and other networks of firms, towards policy evaluation goals;
− project design and management of firm networks at the domestic and international levels;
− academic research on the economics and policy of firm networks.


Basic knowledge of microeconomics is required, specifically concerning consumer theory, the theory of production, and imperfect competition. Initial gaps among students will be filled through an introductory lecture, if needed.


Course outline:
1. Economics of networks: theoretical approaches (industrial organization, transaction cost economics, sociology).
2. Business networks; types and characteristics.
3. Industrial districts: the Marshallian theory and the Italian experience.
4. Innovative clusters: Silicon Valley, migrant entrepreneurs, and the new clusters in emerging countries.
5. The Japanese keiretsu and other bank-centered networks.
6. Growth, innovation, finance, and internationalization in clusters: empirical evidence.
7. Domestic and international policies in support of business networks.

Teaching Methods


Reading list:

Cabral, Luis. "Introduction to Industrial Organisation", MIT Press, chapter 17.

Granovetter, Mark. "The impact of social structure on economic outcomes." The Journal of economic perspectives 19.1 (2005): 33-50.

Pyke, F., Becattini, G., Sengenberger W. (ed.), Industrial districts and inter-firm cooperation in Italy, International Institute for Labor Studies: chapters 2 and 4.

Saxenian, AnnaLee. "The origins and dynamics of production networks in Silicon Valley." Research policy 20.5 (1991): 423-437.

Bresnahan, Timothy, Alfonso Gambardella, and AnnaLee Saxenian. "‘Old economy’ inputs for ‘new economy’ outcomes: cluster formation in the new Silicon Valleys." Industrial and corporate change 10.4 (2001): 835-860.

Saxenian, AnnaLee. "From brain drain to brain circulation: Transnational communities and regional upgrading in India and China." Studies in comparative international development 40.2 (2005): 35-61.

Gilson, Ronald J., and Mark J. Roe. "Understanding the Japanese keiretsu: Overlaps between corporate governance and industrial organization." Yale Law Journal (1993): 871-906.

Frenken, Koen, Elena Cefis, and Erik Stam. "Industrial dynamics and clusters: a survey." Regional Studies 49.1 (2015): 10-27.

Learning assessment

More information