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Competitiveness and Clusters: Implications for a New European Growth Strategy

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  • Christian Ketels

Abstract

This paper develops policy recommendations on the use of cluster-based economic policies and the adoption of a new concept of competitiveness in the context of the new growth path that WWWforEurope aims to outline. A first section discusses summarizes key findings from the previous research papers on the role of clusters in the New Growth Path (MS47) and on a new concept of competitiveness that embeds beyond-GDP objectives (MS46). It then extends this work by deriving an initial set of policy implications from this research. For clusters, these implications address both general practices of cluster-based economic development and specific issues related to the use of cluster-based concepts in a transition to a New Growth path. For competitiveness, it specifically discusses the new concept of competitiveness proposed in MS46 and the notion of trade-offs among different dimensions of performance in this new concept. The second section of the paper explores the ways in which beyond-GDP objectives have been integrated into the current practice of cluster-based economic development efforts across Europe. It is based on interviews with policy makers and cluster initiatives as well as the review of relevant policy documents. For cluster programmes, i.e. the policy actions implemented by government, the paper organizes the existing efforts into three categories, differentiated by the extent to which beyond-GDP categories drive the activities supported. For cluster initiatives, i.e. the collaborative efforts by private-public groups focused on enhancing the competitiveness of a specific regional cluster, the existence of a market and the need for systemic changes are identified as key factors that drive the adoptation of beyond-GDP objectives. There is also a discussion of the relevant scope of the activities in beyond-GDP related efforts relative to existing cluster categories. The third section analysis the Europe 2020 Strategy, including its objectives, quantiative performance indicators, and the European Semester as a policy review process, from the perspective of the new definition of competitiveness proposed in MS46. After exploring whether the objectives of the strategy and the new definition of competitiveness are compatible it looks at their ability to drive an effective and transparent policy process towards policies consistend with a New Growth Path. The final section then develops five policy conclusions from the prior analysis. Three are focused on the use of cluster-based economic development tools as instruments to achieve beyond-GDP objectives. The recommendations deal both with the way cluster-based tools can be used and with how they should be structured. Two of the conclusions are focused on the Europe 2020 strategy process. They deal with the need for a shared, explicit definition of competitiveness, proposing the definition developed in MS46 as a candidate. And they deal with creating a more transparent policy process that more clearly separates political decisions from analytical evaluations.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Ketels, 2015. "Competitiveness and Clusters: Implications for a New European Growth Strategy," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 84, WWWforEurope.
  • Handle: RePEc:feu:wfewop:y:2015:m:2:d:0:i:84
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    File URL: http://www.foreurope.eu/fileadmin/documents/pdf/Workingpapers/WWWforEurope_WPS_no084_MS48.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Daron Acemoglu & Ufuk Akcigit & Douglas Hanley & William Kerr, 2016. "Transition to Clean Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(1), pages 52-104.
    4. Christian Ketels, 2013. "Recent research on competitiveness and clusters: what are the implications for regional policy?," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 6(2), pages 269-284.
    5. Sebastian Galiani, Nicolas Ajzenman, Enrique Seira, . "On the Distributive Costs of Drug-Related Homicides," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(4).
    6. Mercedes Delgado & Christian Ketels & Michael E. Porter & Scott Stern, 2012. "The Determinants of National Competitiveness," NBER Working Papers 18249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jose Claudio Linhares Pires & Tulio Cravo & Simon Lodato & Caio Piza, 2013. "Industrial Clusters and Economic Performance in Brazil," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 83486, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. Rodrik, Dani, 2004. "Industrial Policy for the Twenty-First Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 4767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    11. Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Ralf Martin & Myra Mohnen, 2014. "Knowledge Spillovers from Clean and Dirty Technologies," CEP Discussion Papers dp1300, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Christian Ketels & Sergiy Protsiv, 2013. "Clusters and the New Growth Path for Europe," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 14, WWWforEurope.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tödtling, Franz & Auer, Alexander, 2017. "Knowledge bases, innovation and multi-scalar relationships - Which kind of territorial boundedness of industrial clusters?," SRE-Discussion Papers 5937, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    2. Franz Tödtling & Alexander Auer, 2017. "Knowledge bases, innovation and multi-scalar relationships - Which kind of territorial boundedness of industrial clusters?," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2017_08, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. repec:feu:wfedel:y:2016:m:2:d:0:i:12 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Karl Aiginger & Matthias Firgo, 2017. "Regional competitiveness: connecting an old concept with new goals," Chapters,in: Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness, chapter 7, pages 155-191 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beyond GDP; Clusters; Competitiveness; Ecological innovation; Economic strategy; European economic policy; European governance; Industrial policy; Innovation policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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