Stated locational preferences of Italian entrepreneurs: The underlying location factors

Dario Musolino*, Wim Meester, Piet Pellenbarg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Stated locational preferences of entrepreneurs reflect the attractiveness of regions for firms and play an important role in the preliminary stages of the location search process of relocating firms. Therefore, studying the stated locational preferences and their determinants helps to understand and explain the regional attractiveness for investments. Despite their relevance, stated locational preferences are much less studied than revealed locational preferences. This paper contributes to filling this gap, focusing on an analysis of location factors explaining the stated locational preferences of Italian entrepreneurs, using data from a web survey. Data analyses provide new findings about the spatial patterns and the location factors explaining the attractiveness of regions in Italy. Visual analysis of maps with average ratings of locations makes it possible to identify the general locational preferences of entrepreneurs. Principal component analysis is applied to the dataset to explore the underlying spatial patterns and to identify the location factors that might explain the entrepreneurs’ perception of space in Italy. The North–South opposition is the main pattern revealed by the principal component analysis, indicating that the level of economic development is an important factor for the attractiveness of locations. A second factor is in the localization economies associated with industrial districts. Other location factors identified are accessibility and quality of living. Investing in transport infrastructure and services, particularly in the South and other peripheral areas, is one of the key policy implications emerging from this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1021
Number of pages17
JournalRegional Science Policy and Practice
Issue number4
Early online date18-Nov-2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2022


  • entrepreneurs
  • firm location
  • perception
  • principal component analysis
  • visual analysis

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