Antecedents of trust in industrial districts: an empirical analysis of inter-firm relations in a Turkish industrial district

Oba B., Semercioz F.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, vol.17, no.3, pp.163-182, 2005 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Structural features and institutional settings of industrial districts, rather than contracts as a co-coordinating mechanism, promote trust in exchanges between firms in industrial districts. Based on this assumption, the paper explores the antecedents of trust in a Turkish industrial district at three levels: institutional environment; institutional arrangements; and inter-firm exchanges. In relation to institutional environment, dominant institutions of the Turkish economy - mainly state and finance - and their policies that undermine the role of SMEs in economic development are studied. In this context a third institution, the 'district association' that has a vital role in promoting trust-based governance has been analysed. At the second level, formal and informal institutional arrangements that govern the web of exchanges between. firms are surveyed. The third level of analysis is directed at entrepreneurs and their attitudes towards family, friendship, expertise and reputation are studied. The research site is the Merter textile district in Istanbul. Data for second and third levels of analysis has been collected through structured interviews and is analysed quantitatively. For institutions and institutional environment, data has been collected mainly by in-depth interviews and is supported by secondary data. Research. findings show that informal institutional arrangements are more important than formal arrangements and reputation and expertise of the other. firm is more important than family-friendship connections as antecedents of trust.