Network Contracts in the Italian agri-food industry: Determinants and spatial patterns

Author/s Corrado Ievoli, Angelo Belliggiano, Danilo Marandola, Giuseppe Pistacchio, Luca Romagnoli
Publishing Year 2019 Issue 2019/2
Language English Pages 32 P. 275-306 File size 237 KB
DOI 10.3280/ECAG2019-002006
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Network contracts (NCs) have been recently introduced as industrial policy in Italy to promote competitiveness and innovation among small companies. This paper investigates the structure and the characteristics of NCs operating in the Italian agri-food system. For this purpose, a conceptual framework has been first drawn up to consider sectorial affinity and spatial proximity as factors influencing the development of networks of companies. Subsequently, data from Italian Business Register have been extracted and analysed using appropriate statistical tools, in particular local Moran spatial autocorrelation indexes. Results highlight the significant role played by agri-food companies in the NCs aknowkedged in Italy, expecially the ones established among a reduced numbers of companies. NCs involving agri-food companies are mostly characterised by local spatial correlation patterns and by horizontal aggregation among agricultural holdings, rather than by vertical structures along the food value chain. Results, however, show that several other networks involving agri-food companies can instead express more complex processes of re-organization and innovation of the food value chain. In short, the spread of agri-food NCs seems to be congruent with the Italian agrifood model in which territorial links play a significant role to face small scale limits.

Keywords: Network contracts, agri-food sector, business networks, spatial patterns.

Jel codes: Q13, Q18, L14

  1. Anselin, L. (1995). Local Indicators of Spatial Association – LISA. Geographical Analysis, 27(2), 93-115.
  2. Aureli, S., Ciambotti, M., Del Baldo, M. (2011). Inter-organizational networks as a strategic response to current economic challenges. The Italian experience of the “network contract”: analysis of networks formation, goals and governance. Paper presented at the XXV Rent, Bodo, 16-18 November, Norway.
  3. Aureli, S., Forlani, F. (2015). The effects of formal networks on territorial tourism offers. Current usage of network contracts in Italy. European Journal of Tourism Research, 10, 76-94.
  4. Becattini, G. (1987). Introduzione. Il distretto industriale marshalliano: cronaca di un ritrovamento. In G. Becattini (Ed). Mercato e forze locali: il distretto industriale (pp. 7-34). Bologna: il Mulino.
  5. Belleflamme, P., Bloch, F. (2004). Market Sharing Agreements and Collusive Networks. International Economic Review, 45(2), 387-411.
  6. Belletti, G. (1992). Evoluzione dei consumi alimentari e filiere agroalimentari. Pisa: Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche dell’Universita di Pisa.
  7. Bellon, B. (1984). La filiera di produzione. Economia e Politica Industriale, 42, 109-131.
  8. Bentivogli, C., Quintiliani, F., Sabbatini, D. (2013). Le reti di imprese. Questioni di Economia e Finanza, 152(february).
  9. Braziotis, C., Bourlakis, M., Rogers, H., Tannock, J. (2013). Supply chains and supply networks: distinctions and overlaps. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 18(6), 644-652.
  10. Burlina, C. (2018). Inter-Firm Networks and Firm Performance: The Case of Italy. Marco Fanno Working Papers, 216, Padova: Universita di Padova, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali “Marco Fanno”.
  11. Butera, F., Alberti, F. (2012). Il governo delle reti inter-organizzative per la competitivita. Studi Organizzativi, 1.
  12. Capitanio, F., Coppola, A. Pascucci, S. (2010). Product and Process Innovation in the Italian Food Industry. Agribusiness, 26(4), 503-518.
  13. Capuano, G. (2015). La “mesoeconomia” del contratto di rete: tra teoria e analisi empirica. Economia e Societa Regionale, 2, 42-59. DOI: 10.3280/ES2015-002004
  14. Carbone, A. (2017). Food supply chains: coordination governance and other shaping forces. Agricultural and Food Economics, 5(1), 3.
  15. Carnazza, P. (2012). Imprese cooperative e contratti di rete: I principali risultati di un’indagine qualitativa. Euricse Working Paper, 44(12).
  16. Carolan, M.S. (2013). The wild side of agro‐food studies: on co‐experimentation, politics, change, and hope. Sociologia Ruralis, 53(4), 413-431.
  17. Cecchi, C. (1992). Per una definizione di distretto agricolo e agroindustriale. La Questione Agraria, 46, 81-107.
  18. Censis – Confagricoltura (2012). Dalle reti naturali alle reti strutturate. Innovazione e aggregazione per l’agricoltura di domani, (10), -- See:
  19. Centro Studi Confindustria – istat (2016). Reti d’Impresa. L’identikit di chi si aggrega: competitivo e orientato ai mercati esteri. Roma.
  20. Coase, R.H. (1937). The Nature of the Firm. Economica, 4(16), 386-405. DOI: 10.2307/2626876
  21. Compagnucci, L., Cavicchi, A., Spigarelli, F. (2016). L’efficacia del contratto di rete nel settore agroalimentare Italiano: una rassegna normativa e della letteratura. Economia Marche Journal of Applied Economics, XXXV(2), 1-20.
  22. Costa, S., Luchetti, F., Romano, L. (2017). Reti d’Impresa – Gli effetti del contratto di Rete sulla performance delle imprese. Roma: Istat, Centro Studi Confindustria, RetImpresa.
  23. D’Arienzo, M.C., Ventura, F. (2017). Italian Network Contracts viewed from the perspective of Transaction Cost Economics. First Joint Conference Sidea-Siea, Bisceglie, 13th-16th September.
  24. De Muro, P. (1992). Per una analisi di filiera nell’economia agraria. La Questione Agraria, 46, 15-79.
  25. Fanfani, R., Montresor, E. (1991). Il sistema agro-alimentare: filiere multinazionali e dimensione spaziale dello sviluppo. La Questione Agraria, 41, 165-202.
  26. Ghatak, M. (2000). Screening by the Company You Keep: Joint Liability Lending and the Peer Selection Effect, The Economic Journal, 110, 601-631. DOI: 10.1111/1468-0297.00556
  27. Grandinetti, R. (2014). Aggregarsi in rete: un’opportunita per le piccole imprese. Economia e diritto del terziario, 1(1).
  28. Grossman, S., Hart, O. (1986). The Costs and the Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration. Journal of Political Economy, 94(4), 691-719. DOI: 10.1086/261404
  29. Gulati, R., Wohlgezogen, F., Zhelyazkov, P. (2012). The Two Facets of Collaboration: Cooperation and Coordination in Strategic Alliances. The Academy of Management Annals, 6(1), 531-583. DOI: 10.1080/19416520.2012.691646
  30. Hart, O., Moore, J. (1990). Property rights and the Nature of the Firm. Journal of Political Economy, 98(6), 1119-1158. DOI: 10.1086/261729
  31. Hofstede, G.J., Fritz, M., Canavari, M., Oosterkamp, E. van Sprundel, G. (2010). Towards a cross-cultural typology of trust in B2B food trade. British Food Journal, 112(7), 671-687.
  32. Iacoponi, L. (1990). Distretto industriale marshalliano e forme di organizzazione delle imprese in agricoltura. Rivista di Economia Agraria, XLV(4), 701-748.
  33. Iacoponi, L. (1994). Sistema, filiere e distretti agro‐alimentari. In L. Iacoponi, R. Romiti (Eds.), Economia e Politica Agraria. Bologna: Edagricole.
  34. Ievoli, C., Pistacchio, G. (2018). Il contratto di rete nel comparto cerealicolo italiano. In R. Acquistucci, M. Blandino, M. Carcea, M.G. D’Egidio, E. Marconi, A. Marti, M.A. Pagani, G. Panfili, G.G. Pinnavaia, R. Redaelli (a cura di). Atti dell’11° Convegno AISTEC, I Cereali per un sistema agroalimentare di qualita, Roma, 22-24 novembre 2017, AISTEC.
  35. Ievoli, C., Basile, R., Belliggiano, A. (2017). The Spatial Patterns of Dairy Farming in Molise. European Countryside, 9(4), 729-745.
  36. Labianca, M., De Rubertis, S., Belliggiano, A., & Salento, A. (2016). Innovation in rural development in Puglia, Italy: critical issues and potentialities starting from empirical evidence. Studies in Agricultural Economics, 118(1), 38-46.
  37. Kaplinsky, R., Morris, M. (2012). A handbook for value chain research. --
  38. Knickel, K., Brunori, G., Rand, S., Proost, J. (2009). Towards a better conceptual framework for innovation processes in agriculture and rural development: from linear models to systemic approaches. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 15(2), 131-146. DOI: 10.1080/13892240902909064.
  39. Marinucci, M. (2012). A primer on R&D cooperation among firms. Questioni di Economia e Finanza. 130(September).
  40. Massari, F.S., Riggi, M.R., Calace, D. (2015). Legal and Managerial Implications of the Italian Contratto Di Rete. Rivista Management, 10(2), 131-148.
  41. Menard, C. (2012). Hybrid Modes of Organization. Alliances, Joint Ventures, Networks, and Other ‘Strange’ Animals. In R. Gibbons, J. Roberts (Eds.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics (pp.1066-1108). Princeton University Press. DOI: 10.1515/9781400845354-028
  42. Miles, I., Kastrinos, N., Flanagan, K., Bilderbeek, R., Den Hertog, P., Huntik, W. et al. (1995). Knowledge intensive business services: Users, carriers and sources of innovation. In European innovation monitoring system (EIMS), 15. Brussels: European Commission.
  43. Navarro, F., Labianca, M., Cejudo, E., de Rubertis, S., Salento, A., Maroto, J.C., & Belliggiano, A. (2018). Interpretations of Innovation in Rural Development.
  44. The Cases of Leader Projects in Lecce (Italy) and Granada (Spain) in 2007-2013 Period. European Countryside, 10(1), 107-126.
  45. Pacciani, A. (2003). La Maremma Distretto Rurale – un nuovo modello di sviluppo nella consapevolezza della propria identita. Editrice “il mio Amico”.
  46. Pavitt, K. (1984). Patterns of technical change: towards a taxonomy and a theory. Research Policy, 13, 343-374. DOI: 10.1016/0048-7333(84)90018-0
  47. Porter, M.E. (1985). Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. The Free Press.
  48. Powell, W. (1990). Neither Market Nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization.
  49. In B.M. Staw, L.L. Cummints (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behaviour (vol. 12, pp. 295-336). DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-21742-6_108
  50. Saccomandi, V. (1998). Agricultural Market Economics. Assen: Van Gorcum.
  51. Scarano, G. (1989). Le filiere agro‐alimentari italiane: una metodologia d’analisi. La Questione Agraria, 36, 119‐156.
  52. Sforzi, F. (2000). Il sistema locale come unita di analisi integrata del territorio. In E. Gori, E. Giovannini, N. Batic (Eds.), Verso i censimenti del 2000. Atti del Convegno della Societa italiana di statistica (Udine 7-9 giugno 1999), Dipartimento di scienze statistiche, Universita degli studi di Udine.
  53. Stefani, G. (1994). La filiera: tra sistema economico ed unita di produzione organizzate. Rivista di Economia Agraria, 4, 581‐612.
  54. Stranieri, S., Orsi, L., & Banterle, A. (2017). Traceability and risks: an extended transaction cost perspective. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 22(2), 145-159. DOI: 10.1108/SCM-07-2016-0268
  55. Tiscini, R., Martiniello, L. (2015). Italian Network Contracts: A New Instrument for Successful Cooperation. Journal of Business and Management, 4(2), 45-61.
  56. Tiscini, R., Martiniello, L., Mazzitelli, A. (2017). Contratto di rete e creazione di valore: riflessioni ed evidenze empiriche sulle determinanti della performance. Sinergie Italian Journal of Management, 35(102), 185-208.
  57. Ventura, F. (2001). Organizzarsi per sopravvivere: un’analisi neo-istituzionale dello sviluppo endogeno nell’agricoltura umbra. PhD Thesis, Wageninen University.
  58. Weaver, B. (2012). Coordination, Cooperation, and Collaboration: Defining the C3 Framework. Honors Projects in Management. Paper 13. --
  59. Wever, M., Wognum, P.M., Trienekens, J.H., Omta, S.W.F. (2012). Supply chainwide consequences of transaction risks and their contractual solutions: towards an extended transaction cost economics framework. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 48(1), 73-91.
  60. Williamson, O.E. (1975). Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications. New York: Free Press.
  61. Zecca, F., Al Am, A., Capocchi, E. (2014). Dai distretti alle reti d’impresa: soluzioni chiave per lo sviluppo Territoriale. Rivista di Economia Agraria, LXIX(2-3), 227-243.

  • Information and Communication Infrastructures and New Business Models in Rural Areas: The Case of Molise Region in Italy Corrado Ievoli, Angelo Belliggiano, Danilo Marandola, Pierluigi Milone, Flaminia Ventura, in European Countryside /2019 pp.475
    DOI: 10.2478/euco-2019-0027
  • Rural-Urban Linkages: Regional Financial Business Services’ Integration into Chilean Agri-Food Value Chains Eduardo Rodrigues Sanguinet, Francisco de Borja García-García, in Sustainability /2023 pp.10863
    DOI: 10.3390/su151410863
  • Neo-Endogenous Rural Development in Favor of Organic Farming: Two Case Studies from Italian Fragile Areas Angelo Belliggiano, Alberto Sturla, Marco Vassallo, Laura Viganò, in European Countryside /2020 pp.1
    DOI: 10.2478/euco-2020-0001
  • Supply chain networks in the Armenian agribusiness: Setting a benchmark Jon H. Hanf, Silva Atoyan, Linda Bitsch, Taras Gagalyuk, in ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE 2/2019 pp.359
    DOI: 10.3280/ECAG2019-002010
  • The Impact of Instrumental Stakeholder Management on Blockchain Technology Adoption Behavior in Agri-Food Supply Chains Michael Paul Kramer, Linda Bitsch, Jon H. Hanf, in Journal of Risk and Financial Management /2021 pp.598
    DOI: 10.3390/jrfm14120598
  • Blockchain and Its Impacts on Agri-Food Supply Chain Network Management Michael Paul Kramer, Linda Bitsch, Jon Hanf, in Sustainability /2021 pp.2168
    DOI: 10.3390/su13042168

Corrado Ievoli, Angelo Belliggiano, Danilo Marandola, Giuseppe Pistacchio, Luca Romagnoli, Network Contracts in the Italian agri-food industry: Determinants and spatial patterns in "ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE" 2/2019, pp 275-306, DOI: 10.3280/ECAG2019-002006