Regional cluster policy: key features and critical issues
Nowadays, policy makers in charge of designing innovation policies, especially at the regional level, are more and more adopting the cluster approach either with a view to accelerate the existing clusters or for providing the basis for the emergence of new ones. In fact, not only as a consequence of their appeal as an interactive and territorially embedded vision of innovation but also owing to a lot of other reasons, clusters are usually considered as key instruments for promoting competitiveness, industrial development, innovation and growth. But, although cluster policies have a potential for generating benefits, they also entail costs and risks. Additionally, as clustering is something that has been happening spontaneously during time, the presence of potential benefits from cluster initiatives is not per se a sufficient foundation or a validation for policymakers to get involved. The key question is whether and how policymakers can add value through appropriate measures, beyond the outcomes that markets and market players produce on their own. Furthermore, if clusters are so valuable for regional productivity, and surge of particular historic, cultural and societal circumstances, why are policies needed? Which policies? Undertaken by whom, and how? In this paper weâ€™ll search answers to these questions. However, this is not an easy task as there is a lot of confusion around the cluster concept. First, as some authors have highlighted, there is a vulgarisation and a tendency to oversimplify the definition of â€œclusterâ€ and, so, part of the popularity of clusters lies in its vagueness and definitional elusiveness. Second, in todayâ€™s policy world, clusters are acquiring â€œthe discreet charm of obscure objects of desireâ€ . Third, these particularities prevent an accurate policy evaluation. Furthermore, while there is an extensive literature that focuses on the cluster analysis, the connection between clusters and policy has been mainly ignored. Finally, if cluster policies differ from related and partly overlapping approaches, such as Industrial Districts, Innovation Systems and Triple Helix there may be, in practice, a conflict in the application of these different perspectives. Given the above problems, this paper aims at contributing for identifying the key features of the innovative clusters and addresses the most critical issues in the cluster policy, contributing in this way for filling the existent gap between cluster analysis and policy. Keywords: agglomeration, clusters, cluster policy, innovation, competitiveness, externalities, regional economic development. JEL classifications: L25; L26; R11; R58.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
- Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
- Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1995. "Productivity and the density of economic activity," Economics Working Papers 120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2001. "Nursery Cities: Urban Diversity, Process Innovation, and the Life Cycle of Products," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1454-1477, December.
- Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2000. "Nursery cities: urban diversity, process innovation and the life-cycle of products," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20204, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2000. "Nursery Cities: Urban Diversity, Process Innovation, and the Life-Cycle of Products," CEPR Discussion Papers 2376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2000. "Nursery Cities: Urban diversity, process innovation, and the life-cycle of products," Working Papers dpuga-00-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
- Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2000. "Nursery Cities: Urban Diversity, Process Innovation and the Life-Cycle of Products," CEP Discussion Papers dp0445, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Richard Florida, 2002. "Bohemia and economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 55-71, January.
- Ciccone, Antonio, 2002. "Agglomeration effects in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 213-227, February.
- Antonio Ciccone, 1998. "Agglomeration-effects in Europe," Economics Working Papers 499, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 1999.
- Rodriguez-Clare, Andres, 2007. "Clusters and comparative advantage: Implications for industrial policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 43-57, January.
- Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2005. "Clusters and Comparative Advantage: Implications for Industrial Policy," Research Department Publications 4391, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
- Koen Frenken & Frank Van Oort & Thijs Verburg, 2007. "Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Economic Growth," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 685-697.
- Feldman, Maryann P. & Audretsch, David B., 1999. "Innovation in cities:: Science-based diversity, specialization and localized competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 409-429, February.
- Audretsch, David B & Feldman, Maryann P, 1998. "Innovation in Cities: Science-Based Diversity, Specialization and Localized Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1980, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Matthias Brachert & Mirko Titze & Alexander Kubis, 2011. "Identifying industrial clusters from a multidimensional perspective: Methodical aspects with an application to Germany," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(2), pages 419-439, June.
- Michael E. Porter, 2000. "Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 14(1), pages 15-34, February.
- Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2002. "The elusive concept of localization economies: towards a knowledge-based theory of spatial clustering," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(3), pages 429-449, March.
- Argentino Pessoa, 2013. "Competitiveness, Clusters And Policy At The Regional Level: Rhetoric Vs. Practice In Designing Policy For Depressed Regions," Regional Science Inquiry, Hellenic Association of Regional Scientists, vol. 0(1), pages 101-116, June.
- Argentino Pessoa, 2010. "Competitiveness, Clusters and Policy at the Regional Level: Rhetoric vs. Practice in Designing Policy for Depressed Regions," FEP Working Papers 386, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
- Meric S. Gertler, 2003. "Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context, or The undefinable tacitness of being (there)," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 75-99, January.
- Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2003. "Geography, Industrial Organization, and Agglomeration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 377-393, May.
- Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 1999. "Geography, Industrial Organization, and Agglomeration," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 14, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2003. "Geography, Industrial Organization, and Agglomeration," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 56, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
- Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers 14-92, Tel Aviv.
- Antony Potter & H. Doug Watts, 2011. "Evolutionary agglomeration theory: increasing returns, diminishing returns, and the industry life cycle," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 417-455, May.
- David, Paul A. & Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1990. "Marshallian factor market externalities and the dynamics of industrial localization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 349-370, November.
- Frank Neffke & Martin Svensson Henning & Ron Boschma, 2008. "Surviving in agglomerations: Plant evolution and the changing benefits of the local environment," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0820, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Dec 2008.
- 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.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(4), pages 983-1028, December.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-342, April.
- Edward L. Glaeser & David C. Mare, 1994. "Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 4728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2002. "Deconstructing Clusters: Chaotic Concept or Policy Panacea," Working Papers wp244, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
- Tödtling, Franz & Lehner, Patrick & Kaufmann, Alexander, 2008. "Do different types of innovation rely on specific kinds of knowledge interactions?," SRE-Discussion Papers 306, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
- Franz Tödtling & Patrick Lehner & Alexander Kaufmann, 2008. "Do Different Types of Innovation Rely on Specific Kinds of Knowledge Interactions?," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2008_01, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
- Frank Neffke & Martin Henning & Ron Boschma & Karl-Johan Lundquist & Lars-Olof Olander, 2011. "The Dynamics of Agglomeration Externalities along the Life Cycle of Industries," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 49-65.
- Ron Boschma, 2005. "Proximity and Innovation: A Critical Assessment," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 61-74.
- Argentino Pessoa, 2004. "Institutional innovations, growth performance and policy," ERSA conference papers ersa04p157, European Regional Science Association.
- Henri L.F. de Groot & Jacques Poot & Martijn J. Smit, 2008. "Agglomeration Externalities, Innovation and Regional Growth: Theoretical Perspectives and Meta-Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 08/01, University of Waikato.
- Baptista, Rui & Swann, Peter, 1998. "Do firms in clusters innovate more?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 525-540, September.
- Kevin Morgan, 2004. "The exaggerated death of geography: learning, proximity and territorial innovation systems," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 3-21, January.
- Mark Lorenzen, 2001. "Localized Learning and Policy: Academic Advice on Enhancing Regional Competitiveness through Learning," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 163-185, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p250. 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.