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Reflections on Cluster Policies

  • Steven Brakman
  • Charles van Marrewijk

Economic activity tends to cluster. This results in productivity gains. For policy makers this offers an opportunity to formulate and promote policies that foster clustering of economic activity. Paradoxically, although agglomeration rents are often found in empirical research a rationale for cluster policies does not exist. A brief tour through the literature shows that cluster policies face more problems than is often assumed in policy circles. We reflect on the main issues at stake and conclude that, if not carefully applied, cluster policy may do more harm than good.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3963.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3963
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  1. Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2008. "Agglomeration and Hours Worked," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 105-118, February.
  2. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Entry and Asymmetric Lobbying: Why Governments Pick Losers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 1064-1093, 09.
  3. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Sébastien Roux, 2010. "Estimating Agglomeration Economies with History, Geology, and Worker Effects," NBER Chapters, in: Agglomeration Economics, pages 15-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pierre-Philippe COMBES & Gilles DURANTON & Laurent GOBILLON, 2010. "The Identification of Agglomeration Economies," Working Papers 2010-52, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1995. "Productivity and the density of economic activity," Economics Working Papers 120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Timothy Sturgeon & Johannes Van Biesebroeck & Gary Gereffi, 2008. "Value chains, networks and clusters: reframing the global automotive industry," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 297-321, May.
  7. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2003. "Deconstructing clusters: chaotic concept or policy panacea?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 5-35, January.
  8. Anthony Briant & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Miren Lafourcade, 2008. "Dots to boxes: Do the size and shape of spatial units jeopardize economic geography estimations?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586029, HAL.
  9. Gilles Duranton, 2007. "Urban Evolutions: The Fast, the Slow, and the Still," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 197-221, March.
  10. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
  11. Diego Puga, 2009. "The magnitude and causes of agglomeration economies," Working Papers 2009-09, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  12. Fabrizio Barca & Philip McCann & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2011. "The case for regional development intervention: Place-based versus place-neutral approaches," Working Papers 2011-15, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  13. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  14. repec:cup:cbooks:9781107036727 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Melo, Patricia C. & Graham, Daniel J. & Noland, Robert B., 2009. "A meta-analysis of estimates of urban agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 332-342, May.
  16. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2004. "Spatial Wage Disparities: Sorting Matters!," CEPR Discussion Papers 4240, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9781107654167 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Guido de Blasio & Sabrina Di Addario, 2005. "Do Workers Benefit from Industrial Agglomeration?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 797-827.
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