Regionalisation and regional clusters as development strategies in a global economy
On the basis of Norwegian empirical examples, this paper discusses whether it is possible to encourage local industrial development and to pursue local industrial policies in the face of an increasingly globalised economy. We argue that there are clear tendencies towards regionalisation in the economy, and that this represents one possible alternative to globalisation as a development model and as a strategy for local industrial development. Regionalisation as a development model is closely tied to the resurgence of regional economies and especially the growth of regional clusters. These are smaller geographic areas containing several firms within the same industry, and where firms take part in various kinds of formal and informal local networks. This paper provides an overview of the most important characteristics of dynamic regional clusters. In addition, we chart the current extent and employment growth of potential regional clusters in Norway. This kind of empirical work is one of the necessary means for assessing whether regionalisation is in fact a suitable development strategy for (some) Norwegian regions.
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