Critical review of cluster mapping studies in Poland
The concept of industrial cluster has become one of the most prominent ones both in theoretical discussions, policy making and actual business. It is generally believed that under certain conditions, efficiently performing cluster through positive externalities can become an engine of regional development. Due to potential market imperfections public intervention is frequently required. The concept has gained significance in Eastern and Central European Countries including Poland. Sound cluster-based policy requires a detailed identification of dominant cluster as well as embryonic clusters. In the past few years at the central level of Poland and at the level of some of its provinces (eg. Pomerania, Mazovia, Opole, Silesia) cluster-mapping exercises were performed as part of an effort to modify/inform regional development strategies. Apart from several domestic studies an analysis by an international team for the European Commission for the whole area of Central and Eastern Europe was carried out. The present paper critically reviews the aforementioned studies identifying major methodological bottlenecks. It seems that more emphasis should be placed on the issue of co-location of both vertically related industrial sectors as well as horizontal agglomeration. Spatial autocorrelation should also be included. Appropriate level of sectoral as well as spatial disaggregation of data is of outmost importance.
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