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Divide and Conquer? Decentralisation, Co-ordination and Cluster Survival

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  • Kerstin Wolter

Abstract

This paper develops a simulation model of the behaviour of clusters in the face of bifurcation events in their environment. Bifurcations are understood as the regional equivalent to Schumpeterian creative destruction. The model investigates the role of decentralisation and co-ordination for the likelihood of successful adaptation by comparing adaptive performance of clusters exhibiting different degrees of decentralisation and alternative modes of co-ordination. Using Kauffman’s (1993) N/K model, it is found that there is an optimum degree of decentralisation with respect to cluster adaptability while different co-ordination mechanisms face a trade-off between speed and cluster-level optimality of results. In doing so, the model sheds light on an empirical controversy regarding the role of both factors for adaptation that has emerged between the Silicon Valley – Boston 128 comparison on the one and the Italian Industrial District experience on the other hand. Moreover, the identification of the roles played by decentralisation and co-ordination for cluster adaptability in changing environments could serve as guidance for future empirical research as well as policy initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerstin Wolter, 2005. "Divide and Conquer? Decentralisation, Co-ordination and Cluster Survival," DRUID Working Papers 05-12, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:05-12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
    2. Giovanni Dosi & Daniel A. Levinthal & Luigi Marengo, 2003. "Bridging contested terrain: linking incentive-based and learning perspectives on organizational evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 413-436, April.
    3. Marengo, Luigi & Dosi, Giovanni, 2005. "Division of labor, organizational coordination and market mechanisms in collective problem-solving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 303-326, October.
    4. Ottati, Gabi Dei, 1994. "Trust, Interlinking Transactions and Credit in the Industrial District," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(6), pages 529-546, December.
    5. Fleming, Lee & Sorenson, Olav, 2001. "Technology as a complex adaptive system: evidence from patent data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1019-1039, August.
    6. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Gambardella, Alfonso & Saxenian, AnnaLee, 2001. "'Old Economy' Inputs for 'New Economy' Outcomes: Cluster Formation in the New Silicon Valleys," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 835-860, December.
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    8. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Franco Malerba, 1997. "Industrial Dynamics and the Evolution of Firms' and Nations' Competitive Capabilities in the World Computer Industry," Working Papers 97030, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    9. Dan Johansson & Dilek Cetindamar & Bo Carlsson & Pontus Braunerhjelm, 2000. "The old and the new: the evolution of polymer and biomedical clusters in Ohio and Sweden," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(5), pages 471-488.
    10. Bent Dalum & Christian Ø.R. Pedersen & Gert Villumsen, 2002. "Technoligical Life Cycles Regional Clusters Facing Disruption," DRUID Working Papers 02-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Clusters; Bifurcations. N/K model;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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