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Zooming In: A Practical Manual for Identifying Geographic Clusters

Author

Listed:
  • Juan Alcácer

    () (Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit)

  • Minyuan Zhao

    () (Ross School of Business – University of Michigan)

Abstract

This paper takes a close look at the reasons, procedures, and results of cluster identification methods. Despite being a popular research topic in strategy, economics, and sociology, geographic clusters are often studied with little consideration given to the underlying economic activities, the unique cluster boundaries, or the appropriate benchmark of economic concentration. Our goal is to increase awareness of the complexities behind cluster identification, and to provide concrete insights and methodologies applicable to various empirical settings. The organic cluster identification methodology we propose is especially useful when researchers work in global settings, where data available at different geographic units complicates comparisons across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Alcácer & Minyuan Zhao, 2013. "Zooming In: A Practical Manual for Identifying Geographic Clusters," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-042, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:14-042
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Guy Dumais & Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "Geographic Concentration As A Dynamic Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 193-204, May.
    3. Delgado, Mercedes & Porter, Michael E. & Stern, Scott, 2014. "Clusters, convergence, and economic performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, pages 1785-1799.
    4. Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1996. "R&D Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 630-640, June.
    5. Juan Alcácer & Wilbur Chung, 2007. "Location Strategies and Knowledge Spillovers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 760-776, May.
    6. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Mercedes Delgado & Michael E. Porter & Scott Stern, 2010. "Clusters and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(4), pages 495-518, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mercedes Delgado & Michael E. Porter & Scott Stern, 2016. "Defining clusters of related industries," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-38.

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