Knowledge in the air and cooperation among firms: traditions of secrecy and the reluctant emergence of specialization in the ceramic manufacturing district of Lampang, Thailand
We study interfirm relations among ceramic tableware manufacturers in the city of Lampang, Thailand. Data consist of face-to-face interviews with the principals of thirty-four manufacturers, and with representatives of supporting institutions. We find that specialization in production and knowledge sharing are complementary; that knowledge sharing is substantially discretionary, rather than taking the form of passive spillovers; and that a weak knowledge base, built on firm-based training within vertically integrated mass producers, constrains the development of flexible specialization, despite the efforts of numerous local and external actors. Keywords: cluster, industrial district, specialization, knowledge transfer, ceramic industry, developing economies
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