Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

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First Semester
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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:

- economic analysis of business networks, industrial districts, and global value chains;
the statistical representation of business networks;
the impact of business networks on the entry, growth, and survival of firms;
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 means of 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 programme is organized as follows:

-- Presentation of the course; microeconomic and statistical backgrounds

-- Industrial dynamics:
- From market structure to industrial dynamics
- Entry, exit, survival, and growth of firms
- Econometric models for firm growth and survival

-- Economics of business networks
- Economies of agglomeration and localisation
- The Marshallian industrial district
- Proximity (geographical, relational, institutional, cognitive)
- Global value chains
- Network statistics

-- Competitiveness and internationalisation of district firms
- Effects of business networks on industrial dynamics
- Empirical evidence on Italian industrial districts

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 discussion of research reports and in the estimation of econometric models. Frontal teaching is aimed at stimulating students' critical and communication skills, also through group work.


Lotti F., Meliciani V. (2021), Dinamiche industriali, Il Mulino (ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8).

Capello R. (2015), Economia regionale, Il Mulino (ch. 1, 8, 9).

Pyke F., Becattini G., Sengenberger W. (ed.), Industrial districts and inter-firm co-operation in Italy, International Institute for Labour Studies. Chapters: 2, 4, 6.

Jackson, M. O. (2010). Social and economic networks. Princeton University Press (chapter 2).

Rapporti “Economia e finanza dei distretti industriali”, Intesa San Paolo, 2008-2020. https://group.intesasanpaolo.com/it/research/economia-e-finanza-dei-dist...

Learning assessment

The acquired knowledge, the students' ability to analyze, synthesis and critical thinking, and the clarity of presentation are verified through an intermediate written test and, at the end of the course, an oral exam.
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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