Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Giovanni Camatti and Loris Lugli (IRES, Istituto di Ricerca Economica e Sociale, Emilia-Romagna), Mirto Bassoli and Anna Ruozi (Camera del Lavoro di Reggio Emilia), and Camera di Commercio in Reggio Emilia for helping in identifying the firms in the sample of the analysis. Paolo Pini gratefully acknowledges the financial support of 2001-2002 PRIN research programme on “Infrastructures, competitiveness, and governance levels: knowledge and development of the New Economy”. Grazia D. Santangelo acknowledges the financial support of 2002-2004 “Network Aziendali e Ricambio Tecnologico” research programme sponsored by Fondo d’Ateneo (ex 60%) University of Catania. The authors are also grateful to three anonymous referees for their precious comments and advices on a previous version of this paper. Any and all remaining errors are our responsibility.