Beyond the Knowledge-Based Theory of the Geographic Cluster
AbstractThe knowledge-based theory of the geographic cluster represents a major attempt to re-conceptualize clusters, in essence arguing that the localization of firms in similar and related industries stimulates learning and innovation, giving a competitive advantage to clustered firms. This paper critically examines the knowledge-based theory the cluster, arguing that it has greatly overstated the advantages of co-location to firms and misidentified the mechanisms through which learning occurs in clusters. In particular, the theory is criticized on three points: the flexible, under-specified way that it defines its object of study; the focus on firms as an explanatory variable instead of more fundamental processes of resource accumulation; and the functionalist mode of theory that employs as an explanation. Ways to address of each of these issues are discussed. In a final section I suggest that the rather static notions of learning put forward in the knowledge-based theory of the cluster be replaced by a developmental theory of regional dynamics that focuses on both learning and structural transformation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography in its series Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) with number 0708.
Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision: Nov 2007
geographic cluster; localization; relatedness; knowledge-based theory;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-02-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-CSE-2008-02-09 (Economics of Strategic Management)
- NEP-GEO-2008-02-09 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-KNM-2008-02-09 (Knowledge Management & Knowledge Economy)
- NEP-URE-2008-02-09 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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