The Economic Performance of Clustered and Non Clustered Firms along the different Phases of the Cluster Life Cycle: The Portuguese Cork Industry Case
This paper is about the relative economic performance of clustered and non-clustered companies in the different phases of the cluster life cycle. It starts with the explanation of a puzzling localization behaviour, namely that most of the Portuguese cork manufacturing firms are concentrated in Santa Maria da Feira, a small county in the north of the country, whereas the bulk of the cork is produced in the south (Alentejo and Ribatejo). The historical roots and past and path dependence of the trajectory of this cluster are examined, as well as the identification of its life cycle phases. A comparative analysis of the economic performance of firms localized in Santa Maria da Feira and in other regions of the country is then made, using labour productivity data for a long time span of several decades. This exercise is a quantitative illustration of the crucial importance of history for the understanding of cluster dynamics, as well as many other (evolutionary) economic phenomena.
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"Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography,"
Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG)
0501, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Feb 2005.
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ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers
wp244, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
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