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Regional Cluster Policies: Learning by Comparing?

  • Year: 2002
  • Author: Gert-Jan Hospers and Sjoerd Beugelsdijk
  • Journal Name: Kyklos
  • Journal Number: 55.3
  • Publisher: Wiley

Over the past ten years the concept of regional clustering has gained much popularity in business, government and the academic world. In general, geographically concentrated cooperation is viewed as an organisational survival strategy in today’s intensely competitive business environment. Some authors even suggest that regional clustering is part of a new industrial order (‘alliance capitalism’), in which competitiveness depends on the continuous collaboration of organisations with external sources of knowledge (Best 1990, Dunning 1997, Dicken 1998, Porter 1998). Hence, the paradoxical situation has come into being that nowadays firms have to cooperate in order to remain competitive. Success stories of regional clusters, in which competition and cooperation coexist with an innovating economy, show that firms are able to solve the paradox. Illustrations of this can be found in regions such as Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Baden-Württemberg (Germany) and Silicon Valley (US). Inspired by these classic examples, researchers have tried to identify similar cases in a variety of regions across the world, among others Cambridgeshire (UK), Route 128 (US), Sophia Antipolis (France), Wales (UK), Basque Country (Spain), Toyota City (Japan), Sinos Valley (Brazil), Daegu (Korea), Silicon Glen (Scotland), Flanders Language Valley (Belgium) and Bavaria Valley (Germany).

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