IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

ICT cluster developments in European cities during the 1990's: developoment patterns and policy lessons

Listed author(s):
  • André van der Meer


  • Willem van Winden


  • Paulus Woets


The paper is based on a research project called "MUTEIS"(Macro-economic and Urban Trends in Europe's Information Society), a research project designed to get a better understanding of the different patterns of growth of cities and their ICT clusters in 12 urban regions across Europe. The research reveals developments over the 1990's, starting a few years before the hype, end ending with the first signs of the crises. The paper is based on the results of fieldwork in two different kind of regions in Finland, Ireland, Sweden and The Netherlands. One region being the national frontrunner in taking up ICT, the other being more remote, but apparently successful in ICT too. While Europe as a whole seems to have been slow in its transition towards the new, digital economy, these smaller European economies actually witnessed a rapid uptake in computer- and internet use and in ICT investment more generally over the second half of the 1990's, accompanied by a remarkable growth and employment performance over those same years. However, behind the aggregate stories of success, sometimes initiated by the private sector, sometimes by public authorities, we can see significant differences in the regional and urban development patterns in the field of ICT- and Internet use. We aim to get a better understanding of these disparities. What are the triggers for growth of an ICT-cluster? How does it affect the growth of the region - and vice versa? Which parameters constitute the critical factors for a region's success - or failure? What do the development roadmaps look like? Are they market-driven or government-driven, or rather based on new forms of partnership? How about the impact of the European and national institutional frameworks? Does policy matter? The quantitative part of the analysis is based on statistical data. It describes the size, composition and growth patterns of the ICT sectors over the 1990's. The paper reveals some interesting findings relative to the size, the location and the national hierarchy of urban regions themselves. This is followed by an in-depth analyses of qualitative differences between the ICT-clusters in the urban regions. This part of the paper is based on available data, existing documents and approx. 20 interviews in each region. The successful regions witnessed a more rapid diffusion of IST goods and services throughout their economies, appeared to be better equipped to exploit some of the new digital growth opportunities, adapted existing "old" economic activities to the new e-business environment and more generally learnt more from the new opportunities to exploit those advantages across the European Union. Furthermore, the national policy makers appeared to be more aware of the increasingly limited degrees of freedom of their national policy actions, liberalising more rapidly their national telecommunications monopolies.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa03p73.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2003
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa03p73
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria

Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa03p73. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.