The essay analyses the productive districts of Sicily, a lagging region in terms of development, which, following the global economic crisis, needs to consider the skills, competitiveness and positioning of its products in world markets where the focus of growth has shifted to Asia; leading to southern Mediterranean countries acquiring an increasingly important role. It examines in particular, the legal framework governing the manufacturing districts recognized by the Region of Sicily and suggests several proposals to make the working of these districts more effective in terms of competitiveness and development of the regional economy. The analysis points out the need for a region like Sicily, with a particularly weak manufacturing sector, to improve its human capital and to transform it into social capital, while at the same time enriching its endowment of material and institutional infrastructures. All these elements are essential factors for the competitiveness of the districts and their companies. Furthermore, this essay proposes that Institutions and the State should contribute to create, through the application of the principle of subsidiarity - which combines freedom, responsibility and entrepreneurship - the conditions for competitiveness and growth. This is particularly pertinent to a region like Sicily, which has spent and spends more public resources than other Southern regions, yet with relatively minor results in terms of income growth and employment.
Keywords: Industrial Districts, Competitiveness, Regional Development
Jel Code: L20, O25, R11