Designing Policies For Local Production Systems: A Methodology Based On Evidence From Brazil
Using a previously developed methodology for identifying, classifying and characterizing local production systems (LPS) in Brazil, and evidence produced by a number of case studies, the paper suggests that policies aimed at LPS (or industrial clusters) should be tailored according to a typology of clusters. This typology must take into account the cluster importance for local or regional development, its share in the respective industry, and its characteristics in terms of production structure, trading schemes, institutional infrastructure, governance structures, and social contexts. The paper starts by reviewing, from the point of view of policy-making, the theories that support industrial cluster analyses, namely those that explain clusters as: outcomes of plain agglomeration economies and increasing returns; the result of spatial dynamic processes; knowledge systems emerging from the geography of innovation and agglomeration; governance structures, and as evolving complex systems. Next, the results from an application of the methodology to Brazilian data and information and from a number of case studies are summarized. Finally, the paper suggests policy guidelines with some measures of general application, aimed at problems observed in all LPS, and some specific measures differentiated according to a typology of local production systems that resulted from the application of the methodology.
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