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Driving factors and spatial scales for cluster development - The case of environmental technologies in Upper Austria

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  • Alexander Auer

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  • Franz Tödtling

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Abstract

The environmental technology industry is considered generally as a growing industry driven by urging climate-, energy- and waste problems, regulations and increasing environmental consciousness, among others. Upper Austria often referred to as an industrial region features a heterogeneous group of environmental technology firms that are outperforming other regions in Austria in terms of firm numbers and employees in this sector. Following the main theoretical approaches on cluster life cycles and cluster evolution this paper examines factors on firm and cluster level on different spatial scales that have affected the emergence and evolution of individual environmental technology enterprises and its cluster in Upper Austria. The aim of the paper is to get a profound understanding of the relevance of these factors and to evaluate their development over time. The paper uses primary data from 30 face-to-face firm interviews with managerial staff. Preliminary results suggest that factors relevant for the development of Upper Austrian environmental technology firms geographically shift and change over. Location factors that caused firms to settle in Upper Austria show a rather strong connectivity of the company founder to the region. Hence, personal factors and partners in the region are more relevant compared to other factors. At a later stage, factors such as skilled labour and networks become more important on regional level whereas other factors such as demand, regulations and public support initiatives are more relevant on national and international levels. From an evolutionary perspective factors such as demand and corporate partners become nationally and internationally more important over time, others that are mostly associated with knowledge transfer remain on the regional scale. Overall, we find tendencies of growth and geographically enlarged interaction scales of the Upper Austrian environmental technology cluster as well as a certain persistence of related ties to the regional and national innovation system.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Auer & Franz Tödtling, 2014. "Driving factors and spatial scales for cluster development - The case of environmental technologies in Upper Austria," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2014_08, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwsre:sre-disc-2014_08
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