Informations and abstract
Keywords: Industrial Districts, Footwear Industry, Global Value Chains, Outsourcing
This paper studies the case of the Marche footwear districts. Statistical evidence and interviews with entrepreneurs suggest that the traditional inter-firm relationships within these districts have significantly changed during the past decade. Some leading firms have been building up more exclusive relations with their suppliers, including those abroad, along «buyer-driven » value chains. Moreover, firms have been adopting different strategies, following two main paths: the first is a «focusing-on-quality» strategy, based on upgrading the quality of the goods and investing in brands, r&d and specific distribution channels; the second is a «focusing-on-costs» strategy, which aims at minimizing the production costs of a medium-quality range of goods, including outsourcing abroad. This study shows that firms which focused on quality did better than others, both in the years before the crisis of 2008-09 and during the recession.