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Putting Porter into Practice? Practices of Regional Cluster Building: Evidence from Sweden


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  • Per Lundequist
  • Dominic Power


In the last decade there has been an increased interest in the cluster approach as a tool for boosting regional competitiveness. In this article practices and processes of regional cluster building in Sweden are examined in order to better understand the key traits that seem to be common to successful regional cluster initiatives. It is argued that regional cluster building may be formed through long running policy processes that are crucially constituted by public and private actors' collective vision of what cluster policy involves and what a cluster can look like. Results from a study of 13 cluster initiatives in Sweden are presented. Out of these, four key examples are presented in detail to illustrate four distinct 'models' of cluster approaches that emerged: (a) industry-led initiatives to build competitiveness and competence within an existing base; (b) top-down public policy exercises in brand-building; (c) visionary projects to produce an industry cluster from 'thin air'; (d) small scale, geographically dispersed, natural resource based, temporal clusters that link or dip into global rather than national systems, sources of innovation and competitive advantage. The article closes with the presentation of a checklist of some common elements that successful cluster initiatives in Sweden have shared. It is hoped that they may trigger further research or be useful to policy-makers working in the area. It is concluded that though many questions and problems persist over the use of the cluster-approach it can be a useful tool for regional development.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Planning Studies.

Volume (Year): 10 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (September)
Pages: 685-704

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eurpls:v:10:y:2002:i:6:p:685-704

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  1. repec:idb:brikps:53978 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Jappe-Heinze, Arlette & Baier, Elisabeth & Kroll, Henning, 2008. "Clusterpolitik: Kriterien für die Evaluation von regionalen Clusterinitiativen," Working Papers "Firms and Region" R3/2008, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
  3. Kerr, Sandy & Watts, Laura & Colton, John & Conway, Flaxen & Hull, Angela & Johnson, Kate & Jude, Simon & Kannen, Andreas & MacDougall, Shelley & McLachlan, Carly & Potts, Tavis & Vergunst, Jo, 2014. "Establishing an agenda for social studies research in marine renewable energy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 694-702.
  4. Peter Maskell & Harald Bathelt & Anders Malmberg, 2005. "Building Global Knowledge Pipelines The Role of Temporary Clusters," DRUID Working Papers 05-20, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  5. Mohammad Hosein Tavassoli, 2011. "A Comparative Investigation of Firms’ Innovative behaviors During Different Stages of the Cluster Life-Cycle (Cover study for PhD dissertation)," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1045, European Regional Science Association.
  6. Thomas Brenner & Carsten Emmrich & Charlotte Schlump, 2013. "Regional Effects of a Cluster-oriented policy measure. The Case of the InnoRegio program in Germany," Working Papers on Innovation and Space 2013-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. Peter Maskell & Mark Lorenzen, 2003. "The Cluster as Market Organization," DRUID Working Papers 03-14, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  8. Lars Frederiksen & Silvia Rita Sedita, 2005. "Embodied Knowledge Transfer Comparing inter-firm labor mobility in the music industry and manufacturing industries," DRUID Working Papers 05-14, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  9. King, Karen & Mellander, Charlotta & Stolarick, Kevin, 2010. "What You Do, Not Who You Work For – a comparison of the occupational industry structures of the United States, Canada and Sweden," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 221, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  10. Mohammad Hosein Tavassoli & Dimitrios Tsagdis, 2011. "Developing an Object Oriented Model of Critical Success Factors for Clusters: The Linkˆping Information and Communication Technologies Cluster Test-Case," ERSA conference papers ersa10p642, European Regional Science Association.
  11. Thomas Brenner & André Mühlig, 2007. "Factors and Mechanisms Causing the Emergence of Local Industrial Clusters - A Meta-Study of 159 Cases," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2007-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.


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