The shoe industry of Marikina City, Philippines: a developing country cluster in crisis
I initiate the discussion with a few general remarks on industrial clusters and commodity chains. I describe the main features of the shoe industry in the Philippines. The core of the industry is located in Marikina City in the northeast of the Manila Metropolitan Area. I provide a detailed account of the internal structure and changing fortunes of this cluster. The deeply-rooted failures of the cluster since the early 1990s are pinpointed. I show that these can be directly related to the liberalization of the Filipino economy, and the concomitant increase in Chinese-made shoes on domestic markets. Various private and public responses to the crisis are described and evaluated. I argue that as helpful as many of these responses may be, their overall impact is likely to remain limited. I enumerate a series of possible policy options, but I also emphasize the high risks of failure. I try, in particular, to provide a developmental scenario based on cluster upgrading and intensified export activity.
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