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Clusters Et Systèmes Locaux D'Innovation - Retour Critique Sur Les Hypothèses Naturalistes De Transmission Des Connaissances À L'Aide Des Catégories De L'Économie De La Proximité

Listed author(s):
  • André TORRE



With the return of polarization, and the emergence of poles of competitiveness and other networks of excellence, this article aims to conduct a critical analysis of clusters and local systems of innovation, by using the contributions of proximity economics. Authors generally tend to consider that the agglomeration of economic activities in one specific place is sufficient in itself to generate effects of localised development and to create efficient innovation systems at the local level. The hypothesis is that the transfer of knowledge (of tacit knowledge in particular) is facilitated by geographical proximity. The many failures, as well as the success often related to the history of th e very few efficient innovation systems, have encouraged us to distance from this naturalist hypothesis. In view of the theoretical hypotheses about knowledge transfer that underlie the notion of cluster and of the empirical findings based on several concrete cases, we question the relevance of this notion. First, we propose a critical presentation of the notion of cluster, by examining, in particular, the limits of the naturalist hypothesis according to which the tacit dimension of knowledge necessitates face-to-face relations that lead to the emergence of clusters (I). We then propose a reexamination of clusters, by showing how the use of two types of proximity (geographical and organised) makes it possible to qualify the performance of clusters as tools facilitating knowledge transfer (II). In a third section we discuss other forms of interactions between innovative activities that involve or do not involve geographical proximity, before presenting what we believe are the most profound causes of the processes of spatial agglomerations of research and innovative activities (III).

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Article provided by Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var in its journal Région et Développement.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 15-43

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Handle: RePEc:tou:journl:v:24:y:2006:p:15-43
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