This study investigates a new policy implemented in Italy from 2009, i.e. Inter-Firm Networks (Ifn), and the impact on the economic performance of Italian firms between 2010-2015. The novelty of this policy is to relax some of the characteristics of industrial districts, the most prominent form of firms’ aggregation in Italy, such as geographical proximity and industry belonging, and allows firms from different regions and sectors to cooperate together for a common economic aim. The purpose of this work is twofold: the first part is aimed to understand if it is worth for Italian firms to participate to an Ifn in terms of economic growth and profitability. The second part explores which are the characteristics of the network that positively affect the performance of firms belonging to an Ifn. The empirical analysis is based on about 4,000 Italian firms, of which more a half joined an Ifn in 2013. Results highlight the positive effect of the Ifn on firms’ growth, and among the peculiar characteristics, internationalization scope turns out to be the most relevant one.
Keywords: Inter-firm Network, Performance, Internationalization, Industrial Districts
Jel Code: C3, L25, P25, R12