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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
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3963
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  1. Diego Puga, 2010. "The Magnitude And Causes Of Agglomeration Economies," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 203-219.
  2. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Sébastien Roux, 2008. "Estimating Agglomeration Economies With History, Geology, And Worker Effects," Working Papers halshs-00347451, HAL.
  3. 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.
  4. Beugelsdijk,Sjoerd & Brakman,Steven & Garretsen,Harry & Marrewijk,Charles van, 2013. "International Economics and Business," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107654167.
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  7. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
  8. 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.
  9. Beugelsdijk,Sjoerd & Brakman,Steven & Garretsen,Harry & Marrewijk,Charles van, 2013. "International Economics and Business," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107036727.
  10. Marshall, Alfred, 1890. "The Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number marshall1890.
  11. Briant, Anthony & Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren, 2008. "Dots to Boxes: Do the Size and Shape of Spatial Units Jeopardize Economic Geography Estimations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6928, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. 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.
  13. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2002. "Deconstructing Clusters: Chaotic Concept or Policy Panacea," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp244, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  14. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  15. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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