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    Co-operation in production, the organisation of industry and productive systems: a critical survey of the "District" form of industrial organisation and development

    Konzelmann, Sue and Wilkinson, F. (2016) Co-operation in production, the organisation of industry and productive systems: a critical survey of the "District" form of industrial organisation and development. Working Paper. University of Cambridge Centre for Business Research, Cambridge, UK.

    WP 481 Cooperation in Production - District Form of IO.pdf - Published Version of Record

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    Liberal economics has traditionally put strong emphasis on individualisation and specialisation – and has struggled with the notion of co-operation. Thus, Alfred Marshall's pioneering work on the English industrial districts of his day posed a significant challenge to the conventional wisdom, which embraced laissez-faire markets and Adam Smith's claim that improvements in efficiency depend upon the increased division of labour within firms competing in them. Marshall found that an important determinant of the competitive success of industrial districts was effective co-operation within and between firms, supported by a dense network of institutions, and markets regulated by agreed rules, norms and standards. He theorised that these generate external economies of scale and scope that enable the district and its constituent small firms to successfully compete with large, vertically integrated firms. From the mid1920s, however, with the emergence and growth of very large, highly successful firms, the conventional wisdom shifted to suppose that the historical tendency in capitalist development was towards large firm dominance; and the small firm sector was progressively reduced to a residuum. However, the rediscovery of the industrial district by Italian scholars during the 1960s revived interest in Marshall’s notion of localised productive systems and attracted considerable attention to this form of industrial organisation. This paper traces themes within this literature, from the earliest theorising by the Classical Political Economists to the present, focusing on the role of co-operation in production, the relationship between the organisation of production and markets, and the nature and functioning of productive systems.


    Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
    Additional Information: WP 481
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Industrial Districts, Productive Systems, Co-operation and Competition, Industrial Organisation
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Sue Konzelmann
    Date Deposited: 02 May 2023 14:36
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:00


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