Giancarlo Corò, Monica Plechero, Mario Volpe

Driving Factors and Effects on smes of the Adoption of Industry 4.0 Technologies: An Investigation of Veneto Region

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Keywords: Digital Technologies, Industry 4.0, smes

This article aims at investigating the diffusion of digital technologies related to Industry 4.0 (I4.0) within a regional system – the Veneto region in Italy – with strong manufacturing specialization and significant weight of small and medium-sized enterprises SMEs. Taking a micro-economic perspective and relying on a unique database representative of the regional firms’ population, we analyse the digital technology innovation diffusion in the regional industrial system. Linking the data on the adoption of digital technologies with firms’ performances and employment behaviour, we discuss the main features that distinguish the adopting firms, first of all the role of human capital as key driver in digital innovation. Indeed, firms adopting I4.0 technologies are not only more characterized by workers with higher competences and educational profiles but are also those showing higher productivity, employment growth and a shared value strategy. In terms of policy implications we argue that industrial policies for supporting technological change within I4.0 should go hand in hand with policies for training firms’ human capital and policies favouring internationalization processes.

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