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Reflections on cluster policies

  • Steven Brakman
  • Charles van Marrewijk

Economic activity tends to cluster. This results in productivity gains. For policy makers this offers an opportunity to formulate and promote policies that foster clustering of economic activity. Paradoxically, although agglomeration rents are often found in empirical research, a rationale for cluster policies does not exist. A brief tour through the literature shows that cluster policies face more problems than is often assumed in policy circles. We reflect on the main issues at stake and conclude that, if not carefully applied, cluster policy may do more harm than good. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Cambridge Political Economy Society in its journal Cambridge Journal Of Regions, Economy And Society.

Volume (Year): 6 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 217-231

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cjrecs:v:6:y:2013:i:2:p:217-231
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  1. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
  2. Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2008. "Agglomeration and Hours Worked," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 105-118, February.
  3. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Sébastien Roux, 2008. "Estimating Agglomeration Economies with History, Geology and Worker Effects," Working Papers 2008-22, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Guido de Blasio & Sabrina Di Addario, 2005. "Do Workers Benefit from Industrial Agglomeration?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 797-827.
  6. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  7. Briant, A. & Combes, P.-P. & Lafourcade, M., 2010. "Dots to boxes: Do the size and shape of spatial units jeopardize economic geography estimations?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 287-302, May.
  8. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2010. "The Identification of Agglomeration Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 8119, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Diego Puga, 2010. "The Magnitude And Causes Of Agglomeration Economies," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 203-219.
  10. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2003. "Deconstructing clusters: chaotic concept or policy panacea?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 5-35, January.
  11. Richard E. Baldwin & Frederic Robert-Nicoud, 2002. "Entry and Asymmetric Lobbying: Why Governments Pick Losers," NBER Working Papers 8756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Timothy Sturgeon & Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Gary Gereffi, 2008. "Value chains, networks and clusters: reframing the global automotive industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 297-321, May.
  13. Melo, Patricia C. & Graham, Daniel J. & Noland, Robert B., 2009. "A meta-analysis of estimates of urban agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 332-342, May.
  14. Fabrizio Barca & Philip McCann & Andrés Rodríguez‐Pose, 2012. "The Case For Regional Development Intervention: Place‐Based Versus Place‐Neutral Approaches," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 134-152, 02.
  15. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  16. repec:cup:cbooks:9781107036727 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Gilles Duranton, 2007. "Urban Evolutions: The Fast, the Slow, and the Still," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 197-221, March.
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9781107654167 is not listed on IDEAS
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