Advantages And Disadvantages Of Targeting Industry Clusters
Regional industrialization efforts include industrial recruitment, entrepreneurial and small business development, and business retention and expansion programs. Recently, many states and communities have targeted their industrialization programs at specific industries to promote the development of industry clusters. Broadly defined, an industry cluster is a loose, geographically bounded collection of similar and/or related firms that together create competitive advantages for member firms and the regional economy. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the debate concerning the advisability of industry cluster targeting as an employment generation strategy for states and sub-state regions. Our review of the appropriateness of a clusters strategy begins with a summary of industry cluster characteristics. Next we present the potential advantages developed clusters provide regional economies and the difficulties of establishing competitive clusters in new locations. We conclude with a summary of the implications of an industry clusters strategy for regional industrial development.
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