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R&D productivity and the organization of cluster policy: an empirical evaluation of the Industrial Cluster Project in Japan

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  • Junichi Nishimura
  • Hiroyuki Okamuro

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Abstract

Industrial clusters have attracted increasing attention as important locations of innovation. Therefore, several countries have started promotion policies for industrial clusters. However, there are few empirical studies on cluster policies. This paper examines the effects of the "Industrial Cluster Project" (ICP) in Japan on the R&D productivity of participants, using a unique dataset of 229 small firms, and discusses the conditions necessary for the effective organization of cluster policies. Different from former policy approaches, the ICP aims at building a collaborative network between universities and industries and supports the autonomous development of existing regional industries without direct intervention in the clustering process. Thus far, the ICP is similar to indirect support systems adopted by successful European clusters. Our estimation results suggest that participation in the cluster project alone does not affect R&D productivity. Moreover, research collaboration with a partner in the same cluster region decreases R&D productivity both in terms of the quantity and quality of patents. However, cluster participants apply for more patents than others without reducing patent quality when they collaborate with national universities in the same cluster region. These results imply the effectiveness of indirect support systems that remove obstacles and relax constraints in the clusters. In order to improve the R&D efficiency of local firms, it is also important to construct a wide-range collaborative network within and beyond the clusters, although most clusters focus on the network at a narrowly defined local level. These characteristics may be important factors for the effective organization of cluster policies.
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Suggested Citation

  • Junichi Nishimura & Hiroyuki Okamuro, 2011. "R&D productivity and the organization of cluster policy: an empirical evaluation of the Industrial Cluster Project in Japan," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 117-144, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jtecht:v:36:y:2011:i:2:p:117-144
    DOI: 10.1007/s10961-009-9148-9
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    Keywords

    Industrial cluster; University-industry partnership; Small and medium enterprise; R&D; Patent; O23; O32; O38; R38;

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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