Increasing Stakeholder Participation in Industry Cluster Identification
Industry cluster analysis has become an important policy tool in state and local economic development planning. Although cluster analysis is generally conceived as an expert-led technical analysis, it can be reframed to engage stakeholders in a collaborative process. This paper illustrates how one community pursued a collaborative approach to cluster identification and the costs and benefits of the method. It finds that increased stakeholder participation in the cluster identification stage improved the analytical quality of the analysis, developed community and political acceptance of the results, and defined a new industry cluster to accommodate stakeholder preferences. The main costs were the time and money required to implement a collaborative approach to cluster identification.
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