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Why Do Business Service Firms Cluster? Small Consultancies, Clustering and Decentralisation in London and Southern England


  • David Keeble
  • Lilach Nachum


Notwithstanding their remarkable recent growth, surprisingly little research has hitherto been conducted on the evolving geography of professional and business services in Britain. This paper analyses the results of a detailed survey of 300 small and medium-sized management and engineering consultancies, in investigating the forces underpinning both the striking clustering of such firms in central London and their growth in decentralised locations of East Anglia and South West England. Particular attention is paid to the role of demand-side influences, localised 'collective learning' processes, and increasing globalisation in clustering, and to so called 'enterprising behaviour theory' in explaining decentralisation.

Suggested Citation

  • David Keeble & Lilach Nachum, 2001. "Why Do Business Service Firms Cluster? Small Consultancies, Clustering and Decentralisation in London and Southern England," Working Papers wp194, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp194
    Note: PRO-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandre Trigo, 2013. "The Nature of Innovation in R&D- and Non-R&D-Intensive Service Firms: Evidence from Firm-Level Latent Class Analysis," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 48-68, January.
    2. Robert Bennett & Paul Robson, 2003. "Changing Use of External Business Advice and Government Supports by SMEs in the 1990s," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(8), pages 795-811.
    3. X. Vence-Deza & M. González-López, 2008. "Regional Concentration of the Knowledge-based Economy in the EU: Towards a Renewed Oligocentric Model?," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 557-578, May.
    4. Xavier Vence & Manuel Gonzalez, 2011. "Knowledge Intensive Services Concentration Across European Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1377, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Xavier Vence & Alexandre Trigo, 2010. "Global and National Cooperation in Service Innovation," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Innovation and Services, chapter 23 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. X. Vence-Deza & Manuel González-López, 2004. "Regional distribution of the knowledge based economy in the eu: towards an oligocentric model?," ERSA conference papers ersa04p692, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    business services; clustering London; globalisation; SMEs; collective learning;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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