Geographical distribution of the energy sector in Spain

AutorEduardo Sánchez García/Francisco García Lillo/Lorena Ruiz Fernández/Esther Poveda Pareja
Cargo del AutorUniversidad de Alicante/Universidad de Alicante/Universidad de Alicante/Universidad de Alicante
Universidad de Alicante
Universidad de Alicante
Universidad de Alicante
Universidad de Alicante
The most recent origins of the study of industrial agglomeration go back
to the work of the British economist Alfred Marshall, developed at the
end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth cen-
tury. This author was critical of the factory system, and developed an
alternative scenario, represented by the territorial agglomeration of
small companies in delimited socioeconomic contexts, specialized in
one or several phases of the productive process of a main industry (con-
cept of "Marshallian industrial district"). Thus, through the different
editions of his work "Principles of Economics", developed between
1890 and 1920, Marshall determined that there are at least two efficient
productive models. On the one hand, the large firm composed of verti-
cally integrated production units of considerable size and, on the other,
the geographical agglomeration of many relatively small firms linked
to a main industry and specializing in one or more stages of its produc-
tion process.
Until the 1960s, the production model was based fundamentally on
"Fordist" criteria, such as mass production and technological standard-
ization, a consequence of the assumption of the factory system as an
efficient and effective method of production, and the presence in the
market of large integrated companies derived from the various pro-
cesses of vertical integration undertaken in that period, mainly in search
of the generation of economies of scale and/or scope, and the reduction
of transaction costs. These processes were favored by an unprecedented
increase in the consumption of goods and services and a relative ho-
mogenization of demand.
According to Becattini (2002), the prevailing conception among econ-
omists of the time, in terms of production theory, focused on the "fac-
tory system", which assumed that the most efficient and effective pro-
duction method was one in which all or most of the activities of the
production process were concentrated in the same factory and/or com-
pany with a high degree of vertical integration. However, despite the
availability of capital and some scope for variable cost reduction, large
integrated firms incurred high fixed operating costs, and generally
lacked the flexibility to adapt quickly to an increasingly dynamic envi-
ronment (Becattini, 1979).
They proved to be particularly sensitive to the effects of recessionary
business cycles. This was evident in the global crisis of the 1970s,
which was marked by high inflation, unstable demand, and a significant
increase in the degree of dynamism of the business environment. This
situation posed a real challenge for the large integrated companies de-
rived from the production model predominant up to that time, the "fac-
tory system". In this crisis scenario, the industrial district re-emerged
as an effective production and development model which, although it
had been identified decades earlier by Marshall, had to wait more than
half a century for certain conditions to arise in the environment that
would allow it to re-emerge and be accepted as a viable option for in-
dustrial development.
According to Sforzi (2008), this fact took place thanks to the Italian
researcher Giacomo Becattini, through his research as director of the
"Research Institute for the Economic Programming of Tuscany" (IR-
PET). In them, Becattini analyzed the particularities and the evolution
of the socioeconomic system of the Italian region of Tuscany and de-
termined that the agglomeration of companies specialized in a main

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