Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

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First Semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

The course aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of business networks, from both theoretical and empirical viewpoints, with reference to the following topics:

- the economic analysis of business networks, clusters, industrial districts, and global value chains;
the formal representation and quantitative analysis of business networks;
the impact of business networks on the entry, growth, and survival of businesses;
policies for business networks formation and their empirical evaluation.

Students will develop abilities to apply knowledge in the following areas:

- economic analysis and evaluation of support policies for business networks and strategic choices regarding the global value chain;
academic research on economics and policy of business networks, with an economic and / or econometric approach.

The course also aims to develop and / or strengthen the autonomy of judgment and critical analysis skills of students with reference to the aforementioned topics. In particular, the ability to study by integrating different sources, to independently find, select and analyse documents and databases will be stimulated. Communication skills will be cultivated through presentations. In terms of their ability to learn, students will be able to approach the study of professional reports and scholarly publications on business networks.


Knowledge acquired in first level degree courses is required, in particular:

• Microeconomics of the competitive firm;
Market failures (information asymmetries, public goods, externalities, market power);
Descriptive statistics and statistical regression analysis.

Any gaps between students will be closed through introductory “recap” lectures and the indication of selected readings.


The teaching program is organized as follows:

Presentation of the course; microeconomic and statistical backgrounds (lectures: 6 hours; tutorial: 2 hours)
Networks, industrial districts, and global value chains (lectures: 8 hours)
Industrial dynamics: entry, survival, and growth of firms (lectures: 6 hours; exercises: 2 hours)
Network economics and network analysis (lectures: 6 hours; tutorial: 2 hours)
Networks and industrial dynamics (lectures: 6 hours; exercises: 2 hours)
Policies for business networks formation: theory and empirical evaluation (lectures: 6 hours; exercises: 2 hours).

Teaching Methods

The teaching activity is organized in lectures and exercises for a total of 48 hours of lessons (6 ECTS). The exercise classes consist in the analytical solution of economic models and in the estimation of econometric models. Frontal teaching is aimed at stimulating students' critical and communication skills, also through group work.


There is no textbook, but a list of required readings (in Italian and in English).

Networks, districts, and global value chains
Giannola, A. (2011). Reti, distretti, filiere. Le problematiche fondamentali dello sviluppo italiano. In: Zazzaro, A. (ed.), Reti di imprese e territorio, Il Mulino.
Bentivogli, C., Quintiliani, F., & Sabbatini, D. (2013). The network contract. Bank of Italy Occasional Paper, (152).
Antràs, P. (2020). Conceptual aspects of global value chains. The World Bank.

Industrial dynamics: entry, survival, and growth of firms
Lotti, F., Meliciani, V. (2021), Dinamiche industriali, Il Mulino (cap. selezionati).
Garavaglia C. (2014), Analisi delle determinanti dell’entrata di nuove imprese nei settori industriali: una rassegna, LIUC Papers n. 144.
Geroski P. (1995), What do we know about entry? International Journal of Industrial Organization, 13, 421-441.

Network economics e network analysis
Jackson, M. O. (2010). Social and economic networks. Princeton University Press (cap. 2).
Jackson, M. O., Rogers, B., Zenou, Y. (2016). Networks: an economic perspective. In R. Light and J. Moody (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Social Network Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Capello, R. (2015), Economia regionale, (cap. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9).

Networks and industrial dynamics
Frenken, K., Cefis, E., Stam, E. (2015). Industrial dynamics and clusters: a survey. Regional Studies 49.1 (2015): 10-27.
Klepper, S. (2010). The origin and growth of industry clusters: The making of Silicon Valley and Detroit. Journal of Urban Economics, 67(1), 15-32.
Bernard, A. B., Jensen, J. B., Redding, S. J., & Schott, P. K. (2007). Firms in international trade. Journal of Economic perspectives, 21(3), 105-130.
Grazzi, M., Moschella, D. (2018). Small, young, and exporters: New evidence on the determinants of firm growth. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 28(1), 125-152.

Policies for business networks formation: theory and empirical evaluation
Capuano, C., Del Monte, A. (2011). La politica per la costruzione di reti innovative: aspetti teorici e metodologia empirica. In: Zazzaro, A. (ed.), Reti di imprese e territorio, Il Mulino.
Maffioli A., Pietrobelli C., Stucchi R. (ed.) (2016). The Impact Evaluation of Cluster Development Programmes. Methods and Practices. Inter-American Development Bank (cap. 1, 2, 3).

Learning assessment

The acquired knowledge, the students' ability to analyze, synthesis and critical thinking, and the clarity of presentation are verified through an intermediate test and, at the end of the course, the discussion of a project and an oral exam.
The intermediate test lasts 1 hour and requires the analytical solution of economic models explained in the first part of the course. To pass the test it is necessary to acquire at least a score of 18/30.
The project work consists of estimating an econometric model using a database provided by the teacher or searched by the student. The teacher communicates well in advance a range of topics to be developed in the paper, from which students can choose. Sufficient heterogeneity in the distribution of topics is ensured. The presentation of the paper lasts 20 minutes and the use of Power Point or similar software is required. The following aspects are specifically assessed:
- Knowledge and understanding: mastery of the subject, as demonstrated by the ability to present basic and advanced concepts in a correct, concise, and complete manner (30%);
- Ability to apply knowledge and understanding in areas other than the original one, as well as to explore the interrelationships between the subject of the project work and other topics addressed during the course (30%);
- Autonomy of judgment: autonomous capacity for critical selection, summary, and processing of information sources in the presentation, as well as ability to discuss in response to questions and comments from the audience (30%);
- Communication skills: clarity, completeness, correctness, use of appropriate technical language (10%).
The score assigned to the project is averaged with the grade of the intermediate test. The exam is passed with a score of at least 18/30.

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