This article opens a monographic section on the “Emilian Model”. A region with a solid manufacturing tradition and with high export volumes, Emilia Romagna has long been undergoing a deep change, particularly in its production system: a veritable “metamorphosis”, which the four papers published here (G. Bottazzi and U. M. Gragnolati; G. Iuzzolino and C. Menon; G. Guastella, F. Timpano and M. Veneziani; N. Freo, A. Guizzardi and G. Tassinari) analyze in detail. This introductory paper highlights both their common traits (e.g., the description of the changes that took place between the 1970s and the 2000s), and their individual aspects (e.g., agglomeration economies, signs of discontinuity in the life of industrial districts). The monographic section is the first pillar of a larger research project conceived and coordinated by the Jean Monnet Chair of the University of Parma. A complementary monograph – also edited by F. Mosconi under the title “La metamorfosi del Modello emiliano. L’Emilia-Romagna e i distretti industriali che cambiano”, published in 2012 (Bologna, Il Mulino) – represents the second pillar of this project; along with a thorough introduction by the editor, this volume will consist of 15 essays, all of which are the results of work carried out during the above-mentioned research project.
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