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Innovation Strategies and Economic Crisis: Evidence from Firm-level Italian Data

Davide Antonioli (), Annaflavia Bianchi, Massimiliano Mazzanti (), Sandro Montresor () and Paolo Pini ()

Economia politica, 2013, issue 1, 33-68

Abstract: The disruptive economic downturn of the period 2008-2009, forced industrial firms to implementstrategies, in order to survive and to generate new competiveness sources. One of such strategic behavioursregards the way of intervention on several innovation areas through different strategies. Disentanglingthe effect of pre-crisis adopted innovations, industrial relations quality and economic performanceon such strategies may be of extreme relevance to analyse the nexus between the reactions to the challengesbrought by the crisis and the capacity of the firms to proactively tackle economic downturns.The present work provides an empirical analysis on the basis of more than 500 Italian manufacturingfirms located in Emilia-Romagna region. The results suggest the existence of strong relationships betweenpre-crisis innovative activities and the capacity to react to the challenges brought by the crisis. Thishappens through innovative strategies, whose contents are mainly product (technological competitiveness),process and organisation/HRM innovative dimensions (cost competitiveness/efficiency gaining). Complementaryinnovative activities emerge as a key factor. Industrial relations quality is also related to the strategicreaction to the crisis: more participative industrial relations support the adoption of diversified typesof innovation strategies. There is, instead, no evidence of a relation between past economic performanceand innovation actions in the crisis.

Keywords: J.E.L. L1; L23; L6; J53; O3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:mul:jb33yl:doi:10.1428/73099:y:2013:i:1:p:33-68