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Geographical Cluster Heterogeneity and Competitive Advantage: evidence from Italy

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  • Nunzia Carbonara

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  • Ilaria Giannoccaro
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    Abstract

    This paper seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate concerning the role of heterogeneity for the GC competitive advantage. With this aim, we focus on different sources of heterogeneity and study how the different level of heterogeneity affects the performance of GCs. Specifically, we consider the GC heterogeneity due to: 1) the variety in the firms’ technological specialization; 2) the diversity in the firms’ organization; 3) the variety of the external knowledge brought into the GC; 4) the absorptive capacity of the GC. We conduct an empirical research on 32 Italian District Provinces (DPs), by measuring for each DP the level of heterogeneity and the level of performance. To do this, a set of variables both for the sources of heterogeneity and for the performances has been defined. In particular, the variety in the firms’ technological specialization has been measured by using two different concentration indexes: the Gini coefficient and the Theil index, both aim at capturing the level of concentration of both firms and employees in a specific manufacturing sector. The diversity in the firms’ organization has been computed by using the Gini coefficient and the Theil index. In this case the indexes measure the level of concentration of both firms and employees in a specific class of employees. As for the variety of the external knowledge brought into the DP, we have evaluated the breadth of the international trade linkages of each DP. Specifically, by using the Gini coefficient, we have calculated the level of concentration of both imports and exports in a specific country of destination/origin (Boschma and Iammarino, 2009). As for the absorptive capacity, we have calculated the number of graduates in technical-scientific fields in each DP. Finally, as measures of performance, we have considered three indicators: the GDP, the number of patents developed in each DP, and the firms’ death rate. A cluster analysis has been applied to process the data collected.

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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa10/ERSA2010finalpaper1414.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p1414.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1414

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    1. R. Paci & S. Usai, 2000. "Externalities, knowledge spillovers and the spatial distribution of innovation," Working Paper CRENoS 200002, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    2. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. R. Paci & S. Usai, 1999. "The role of specialisation and diversity externalities in the agglomeration of innovative activities," Working Paper CRENoS 199915, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    4. Lydia Greunz, 2004. "Industrial structure and innovation - Evidence from European regions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/169718, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Baptista, Rui, 2000. "Do innovations diffuse faster within geographical clusters?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 515-535, April.
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      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    7. Feldman, Maryann P. & Audretsch, David B., 1999. "Innovation in cities:: Science-based diversity, specialization and localized competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 409-429, February.
    8. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2005. "Patents, Citations, and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026260065x, December.
    9. Ron Boschma & Simona Iammarino, 2009. "Related Variety, Trade Linkages, and Regional Growth in Italy," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(3), pages 289-311, 07.
    10. Lissoni, Francesco, 2001. "Knowledge codification and the geography of innovation: the case of Brescia mechanical cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1479-1500, December.
    11. Elisa Giuliani, 2007. "The selective nature of knowledge networks in clusters: evidence from the wine industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 139-168, March.
    12. Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
    13. Acs, Zoltan J. & Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila, 2002. "Patents and innovation counts as measures of regional production of new knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1069-1085, September.
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