Economics and business

Coordinator: Margherita Russo

Members: The research group of the Department of Economics Marco Biagi is composed by Paola Bertolini, Enrico Giovannetti, Gianluca Marchi, Francesco Pagliacci, Margherita Russo, Marina Vignola.

Research activities

In a systemic perspective, the research team develops the socio-economic analysis of business conditions that support the formation of a new production chain and the enhancement/ transformation of local production systems. Applications of PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) and DMFC (Direct Methanol Fuel Cells) to specific target uses will be a primary field of analysis.

System transformation will be also considered, as in the case of the ceramic tile cluster where dismissed industrial areas could take advantage from local public-private pilot actions. In particular, the focus is on the development and monitoring of connections between mechanical and agricultural production, aimed at both reusing agricultural production wastes and producing methanol.

The set of conditions that have to be analysed are:

a) the existence of a prospective market for PEM and DMFC, by matching the differentiating attributes of PEM or DMFC-based products (compared to current alternative technologies) with the end users’ expressed or latent needs;

b) the evaluation of this potential market in the next 5-10 years;

c) the identification of the level and type of design and production costs that companies of the emerging cluster should sustain to develop and implement DMFC;

d) the identification of effective cooperative strategies between the potential actors involved into the development of the new industrial cluster. These potential actors could be: companies already operating in industries where FC could be applied (e.g., forklift OEMs backward integrated in the FC production; component manufacturers that diversify into FC); new-co manufacturing FC; companies reconverting their activities from related technological fields into FC.

Considering the socio-economic impact, it is expected that the new FC applications have a positive impact on favouring the sustainable growth of the local economic system, through: the formation of new technological clusters based both on: new production ventures and consolidated firms that shift their technological skills from mature industries to new FC-based industries characterized by higher market potential; the growth of the employment rate within the emerging cluster, highly relevant to contrast redundancies due to business crises on consolidated industries (as for the ceramic tiles industry).

Within LIFC, the collaboration of the research team in economics and business is developed on two action levels.

(1) Adopting a resource interaction perspective, from the economic point of view the project aims to study and identify a theoretical cooperation model, between the potential industrial and commercial partners of the new industrial cluster, to support the establishment of the new production line and the marketability of the new FC-based products. This focus infers from the consideration that the production and implementation of DMFC for automotive applications is an emerging business that requires the formation and the development of business relationships between actors to provide the needed knowledge and resources. The contribution of these resources and their suitable combination need that the involved actors must engage in extensive adaptation and interaction between them. With regard to the interaction problems, we also focus the study on the theoretical problem related to the coordination factors between the actors involved and in particular to the institutional actions and transaction costs, as potential factors that can stop the innovation process.

(2) Analysis of case studies of companies that can operate in the industrial cluster object of study and quali-quantitative analysis of intermediate and final customer of the new technology (identification of the potential actors, development of a business plan, etc.…)


Networks of personal computer and printers