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In an environment characterised by strong globalization trends and increasing uncertainty, firms are becoming more and more integrated within international networks. In the meantime, the new dynamics of the production system gives to localised learning an important role to play. This apparent duality leads to the question of firms’location and to the role of territory in their competitiveness. More specifically, the issue raised in this paper is the diversity of the sources of competitiveness of localised firms. The purpose is to determine the respective competitiveness effects of industrial spillovers (due to comparative advantages), spatial externalities (urban and industrial economies of agglomeration) and specific internal characteristics (due to firm organisation). These effects have been tested at the two stages of the export process : first the firms’decision to sell abroad or not and, secondly, the volume of exports of firms engaged in selling abroad. The originality of this study relates to the exploitation of the individual firms data, which allows the complexity of organisational forms (group, multiplant firm) to be linked to the diversity of spatial environments (urban areas, rural areas, etc.). Results confirm that territorial determinants play a significant role in firms’competitiveness. Among these factors, urban agglomeration economies are the most important. Thus firms located in an urban area have a greater propensity to export and export more than the others. But, taking into account the multiplant firms and their spatial organisation moderates this result. The location of their plants in several and different areas benefits their competitiveness. Finally, the fact of taking multiplant firms into account shows in particular that a firm, while benefiting from the advantages of urban district economies for its head office, can choose to locate some of its firms in rural areas in order to be more competitive. It can thus combine the generic externalities of urban agglomeration economies, required for the commercial activity of the firm, with the advantages for production of the proximity of raw materials. Industrial agglomeration plays also a significant and positive role but lesser than others. This would mean that urban economies (due to infrastructures, collective equipments or generic assets) or national specialisation have a more stimulating effect than local technological externalities.


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