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The Economic Performance of Clustered and Non Clustered Firms along the different Phases of the Cluster Life Cycle: The Portuguese Cork Industry Case

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  • Amélia Branco
  • João Carlos Lopes

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Amélia Branco & João Carlos Lopes, 2013. "The Economic Performance of Clustered and Non Clustered Firms along the different Phases of the Cluster Life Cycle: The Portuguese Cork Industry Case," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/26, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp262013
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    File URL: http://pascal.iseg.utl.pt/~depeco/wp/wp262013.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Porter, 2003. "The Economic Performance of Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 549-578.
    2. Fiorenza Belussi & Silvia Rita Sedita, 2008. "Life Cycle vs. Multiple Path Dependency in Industrial Districts," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 505-528, November.
    3. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2006. "Path dependence and regional economic evolution," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 395-437, August.
    4. Ron A. Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2006. "Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 273-302, June.
    5. Max-Peter Menzel & Dirk Fornahl, 2010. "Cluster life cycles--dimensions and rationales of cluster evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 205-238, February.
    6. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2011. "Conceptualizing Cluster Evolution: Beyond the Life Cycle Model?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(10), pages 1299-1318, November.
    7. Branco, Amélia & Parejo, Francisco M., 2008. "Incentives or obstacles? institutional aspects of the cork business in the Iberian Peninsula (1930–1975)," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 17-43, January.
    8. Amélia Branco & João Carlos Lopes, 2013. "Vantagens da concentração geográfica da produção: o caso da indústria corticeira de Santa Maria da Feira," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/04, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    9. Gregory Spencer & Tara Vinodrai & Meric Gertler & David Wolfe, 2010. "Do Clusters Make a Difference? Defining and Assessing their Economic Performance," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(6), pages 697-715.
    10. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2003. "Deconstructing clusters: chaotic concept or policy panacea?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 5-35, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cork Industry; Cluster Life Cycle; Santa Maria da Feira; Portugal.;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • L73 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Forest Products
    • N60 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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