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Agglomeration and Growth: A Study of the Cambridge Hi-Tech Cluster

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  • Suma Athreye

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Abstract

This chapter is an empirical study of growth and change in the Cambridge hi-technology cluster, and the mechanisms that underlie this growth. Despite high rates of new firm formation that explain the sustained growth of employment in the region, this growth has not been spectacular. Further, these high levels of entrepreneurship are motivated more by inertia of founders and quality of life factors than agglomeration advantages. The chapter highlights some significant changes that have taken place in the area's economy, their impact on firm growth and explores the importance of traditional sources of agglomeration economies. It finds that the main mechanisms creating knowledge spillovers are the movement of personnel between firms and the spinout of new firms from parent firms, rather than dense and proximate local links. We explore the role of the University in this process, and draw attention to the importance of a small group of individuals who have been instrumental in various kinds of information transfer and the creation of institutions that encourage the transfer of knowledge from the university to firms. We conclude that though Cambridge displays cluster like characteristics it is not an example of a classic cluster and shows evidence of different mechanisms that achieve collective efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics in its series Open Discussion Papers in Economics with number 29.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:opn:wpaper:29

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  1. Lilach Nachum & David Keeble, 2000. "Foreign and Indigenous Firms in the Media Cluster of Central London," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp154, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  2. Elizabeth Garnsey, 1998. "The Genesis of the High Technology Milieu: A Study in Complexity," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 361-377, 09.
  3. P Haug, 1991. "Regional formation of high-technology service industries: the software industry in Washington State," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(6), pages 869-884, June.
  4. D E Keeble, 1989. "High-technology industry and regional development in Britain: the case of the Cambridge phenomenon," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 7(2), pages 153-172, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Basant, Rakesh & Chandra, Pankaj & Upadhyayula, Rajesh, . "Knowledge Flows and Capability Building in the Indian IT Sector: A Comparative Analysis of Cluster and Non-Cluster Locations," IIMA Working Papers WP2011-10-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  2. Robert Huggins & Andrew Johnston & Rebecca Steffenson, 2008. "Universities, knowledge networks and regional policy," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 1(2), pages 321-340.
  3. Elizabeth Garnsey & Paul Heffernan, 2005. "High-technology clustering through spin-out and attraction: The Cambridge case," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(8), pages 1127-1144.
  4. E. Stam & R. Martin, 2012. "When High Tech ceases to be High Growth: The Loss of Dynamism of the Cambridgeshire Regio," Working Papers 12-10, Utrecht School of Economics.
  5. Alessandro Malipiero & Federico Munari & Maurizio Sobrero, 2005. "Focal Firms as Technological Gatakeepers within Industrial Districts Knowledge Creation and Dissemination in the Italian Packaging Machinery Industry," DRUID Working Papers 05-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  6. 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, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. Tõnis Mets, 2005. "Innovation Paths of Estonian Biotechnology," Working Papers 131, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology.
  8. Slavtchev, Viktor & Fritsch, Michael, 2005. "The Role of Regional Knowledge Sources for Innovation: An Empirical Assessment," Freiberg Working Papers 2005,15, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  9. Michael Fritsch & Viktor Slavtchev, 2005. "The Role of Regional Knowledge for Innovation," ERSA conference papers ersa05p623, European Regional Science Association.
  10. repec:wip:wpaper:3 is not listed on IDEAS

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