Kinship and economic crisis in the shoe district of the Marche region


family firms
small business
shoe district
industrial districts
third italy
economic crisis


This paper investigates the extent to which kin groups can play a creative role in affecting the occupational choices of new(er) generations of workers and small business people in environments undergoing significant economic stress. Analysis of three extended cases of intergenerational changes in kin group occupational choices from among those included in a longitudinal study of the shoe industrial district in the Marche region of central Italy suggests that kin groups have helped their members anticipate future problems in local job markets and supported individual designs of careers with more promise than sticking with the shoe industry might have presented earlier generations. Renewed emphasis on the importance of the social context in economic decision-making affords a closer, and in some respects better look at the possible future directions of local economies in transition.