43rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Peripheries, Centres, and Spatial Development in the New Europe", 27th - 30th August 2003, Jyväskylä, Finland
In many European countries, economic growth has been characterised by the presence of deep regional imbalances and the Italian case is not an exception. This justifies the adoption of a regional approach in the study of economic development to show the particular path to economic growth, with relation to its own advantages and opportunities on the one hand, and to its own peculiar obstacles and limits on the other hand. In general terms, some particular areas of Eastern Sicily seem to have been benefiting from a relatively dynamic agricultural sector and from its own natural propension to shipping business which have been the stimulus for the development of a modest, but not negligible, group of correlated industries. Since the second half of the 20th century, in these areas, the economic growth engines have been the pharmaceutical, chemical and electronic industries. The main objective of this paper is to analyse the role that local institutions have played in the development of such industries. The answer to this question is complex, but the paper provides some important clues. In particular, it points out the strong co-existence of economic and political interets although mixed in different proportions in each case. This fact confirms that no path to economic growth should be analysed without considering its geographic, economic and political context.