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Looking for the Core of a Knowledge-based Sea Cluster: A Social Network Analysis in a Maritime Region


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  • Hugo Pinto


  • Ana Rita Cruz
  • Pedro Pintassilgo
  • Joao Guerreiro
  • Ana Gonçalves


For more than two decades cluster policies have emerged as a central focus for decision-makers trying to instigate territorial development. The benefits, especially in terms of collective learning, knowledge sharing and other types of agglomeration economies and spill-over effects, are well stressed in the regional science literature. Today the relevance of maritime activities and marine resources to economic development is acknowledged. For several European countries, the Atlantic Ocean is part of their common history, identity and potential for developing advanced economic niches of excellence. There is no surprise that several regions are trying to implement their development strategies based on a broad Sea Cluster notion that encompasses a diversity of economic activities such as fisheries and aquaculture, coastal tourism, marine transports and activities based on marine sciences and maritime technologies. Based on the results of a trans-regional evaluation performed for the Atlantic Area under project KIMERAA, this paper evaluates the consolidation of the Sea Cluster in the Algarve, a Portuguese region internationally known by its coastal tourism. The region has also been experiencing a growing capacity in economic activities linked to marine sciences. This regional cluster did not emerge spontaneously and there are several initiatives to promote it. Interviews to regional actors showed light on two important issues. i) Which organization should be the main mediator to bridge science to market? ii) Who is the actor that is in a better position to assume a pivotal role in the formal consolidation of the cluster? Using social network analysis the main knowledge transfer mediator and the central actors are identified. Their roles and specific policy implications are underlined.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa11p510.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p510

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  1. Doloreux, David & Shearmur, Richard, 2009. "Maritime clusters in diverse regional contexts: The case of Canada," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 520-527, May.
  2. Andre Torre & Alain Rallet, 2005. "Proximity and Localization," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 47-59.
  3. Michael Fritsch & Martina Kauffeld-Monz, 2008. "The impact of network structure on knowledge transfer: An application of social network analysis in the context of regional innovation networks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-036, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Anne Ter Wal & Ron Boschma, 2009. "Applying social network analysis in economic geography: framing some key analytic issues," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 739-756, September.
  5. Michael Porter, 2003. "The Economic Performance of Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 549-578.
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