29 November 2016

This monthly selection of articles has been carried out by Philippe Gugler and Damiano Lepori, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg. The entire selection, carried out since 2013, can be consulted on the academic articles page of our web.


From Marshall’s Triad to Porter’s Diamond: added value?

By: S. Brosnan, E. Doyle, S. O’Connor. Competitiveness Review, Vol. 26, Iss 5, 2016.

Abstract: “The purpose of this paper is to offer clarity on a central concept introduced in Porter’s The Competitive Advantage of Nations, i.e. the cluster. The authors situate the concept introduced by Porter (1990) relative to two of its antecedents, the industrial district and industrial complex. Placing the cluster in a historical context permits consideration of the extent to which it, as a concept for analysis, may be differentiated from other geography-based approaches to economic phenomena. In this way, this paper examines the added value of the cluster concept derived from economic factors. The paper provides a detailed literature review tracing the evolution of theories of location and agglomeration into which Porter’s cluster fits. The evolution of Porter’s own conceptualisation of the cluster and how this relates to theoretical clarity surrounding the concept is explored. Comparative analysis of theories of location, agglomeration and clustering is provided to identify similarities and differences across the approaches and identify the added value of the cluster concept in relation to other approaches. Clustering represents a process associated with spatial organisational form which may offer advantages in efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility. Cluster benefits can be appreciated through the lens of Young’s (1928) identified sources of increasing returns. A key aspect in clustering is revealed in terms of its role in enabling four sources of increasing returns. The authors outline how these sources of increasing returns are related to “soft” processes of networking, interaction and individual and collective learning. Porter’s Diamond is a self-reinforcing system which can permit increasing returns and reinforce such tendencies of economic activity within agglomerations. Added value from Porter’s cluster concept is identified in the context of both its locational anchoring and in terms of its potential for understanding the role of exploitation of increasing returns for development. This points to the importance of focusing on clustering as a process rather than on cluster within typologies of organisational form. This implies that the nature of relationships (and how they change) within and across markets, institutions and actors lies at the heart of clustering because of their roles in knowledge-generation, including innovation, knowledge sharing and upgrading.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Cluster and co-located cluster effects: An empirical study of six Chinese city regions

By: R. Lu, M. Ruan, T. Reve. Research Policy, Vol. 45, Iss. 10, 2016.

Abstract: “We study how industrial clusters in three different life phases both influence and moderate total factor productivity (TFP) of other co-located industries or clusters. A multilevel regression model is applied to panel data, 1993–2012, from the Pearl River Delta, China. Our empirical results show that emerging clusters have negative effects on other co-located industries’ or clusters’ TFP while mature clusters have positive effects. Emerging clusters positively moderate TFP, while mature clusters negatively moderate TFP of other co-located industries or clusters; declining clusters only have direct positive impact on TFP of other co-located industries or clusters.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Public policies and cluster life cycles: insights from the Basque Country experience

By: A. Elola, J. M. Valdaliso, S. Franco, S. M. López. European Planning Studies, ISSN 1469-5944, 2016.

Abstract: “This paper contributes to the study of the role of public policies in the origins and evolution of clusters. Building on the existing literature, we set up a taxonomy of nine public policies that may have an impact on the emergence and evolution of clusters. Based on in-depth case studies of six clusters of the Basque Country, particularly representative of the industrial history of the region, we analyse the relevance of the different types of policies both in the emergence and evolution of clusters over time. In agreement with cluster literature, the paper concludes that public policies seem to have played only an indirect role across clusters and over their life cycles. Moreover, it points to the necessity of taking history and context into account, as most of the important policy measures highlighted by cluster literature today do not fit well with the previous policy and economic context. Finally, it also concludes that for cluster policies to be effective, the stages of the life cycle should be taken into consideration.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Patterns and determinants of inventors' mobility across European urban areas

By: C. Goring. GATE Working Paper 2016-15, 2016.

Abstract: “Highly skilled professionals are regarded as one of the main driver for the economic development of cities through their effect on innovative capabilities. Skilled individuals are mobile in space and tend to cluster within a limited number of urban areas, therefore a crucial question is what factors shape this flows and influence the divergent levels of economic development across urban areas. Building on these considerations, this paper takes advantage of a large-scale dataset to shed light on the patterns and determinants of inventors’ mobility across European urban areas. First, a descriptive analysis is carried out to document the dynamics of inventors’ mobility and their spatial dimension. Second, a gravity model is used to analyse how job opportunities and socio-professional networks influence the flows of inventors between urban areas. From a methodological perspective, this paper uses a spatial filtering variant of the Poisson gravity model, which accommodate the nature of the data, while controlling for multilateral resistance and spatial autocorrelation in mobility flows. The descriptive analysis suggest that inventors’ mobility occurs primarily between relatively large and collocated urban areas, partly because of the high level of circular and intra-firm mobility. The econometric analysis shows that employment opportunities, social networks, as well as various forms of proximity are important determinants of inventors’ mobility.“ [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


The dynamics of cluster entrepreneurship: Knowledge legacy from parents or agglomeration effects? The case of the Castellon ceramic tile district

By : J.-L. Hervas-Oliver, M. Lleo, R. Cervello. Research Policy, Vol. 46, Iss. 1, forthcoming 2017.

Abstract : “What are the main mechanisms driving the process of industry clustering? There is a tension between two different perspectives as regards explaining entrepreneurship and spatial concentration: the roles played by agglomeration economies and knowledge legacies passed on from parents to spawns or spinoffs. Using qualitative interviews and archival data analysis, this paper tracks the evolution and the organi- zational reproduction of the ceramic tile cluster of Castellon (Spain) since its inception in 1727. Results show the existence of agglomeration and socially-based co-operation forces. Beyond de novo spinoffs, abundant social capital in highly agglomerated regions facilitates co-operation and new firm formation, and even co-operation amongst competitors to create new firms. Socially-based networks, reinforced by agglomeration externalities, all act as learning mechanisms to build pre-entry capabilities in new ventures, complementing Klepper’s inheritance perspective. Spatial concentration of an industry can be attributed to the benefits of agglomeration and socially-based co-operation, in combination with the influence of knowledge legacies in a complementary and synergistic process. Conclusions are framed within the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship, shedding light on how entrepreneurship occurs in clusters.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


A science-based sector in the making: the formation of the biotechnology sector in two regions

By: A. Angelakis, K. Galanakis. Regional Studies, ISSN 1360-0591, 2016.

Abstract: “A science-based sector in the making: the formation of the biotechnology sector in two regions. Regional Studies. This paper analyses two case studies, Skåne-Blekinge in Sweden and the Southern–Eastern region in Ireland, to examine different current development paths for the biotechnology sector. The aim is to codify the process, identifying actions and priorities towards these paths. National innovation systems theory provides the theoretical framework that guided a series of interviews in the two regions. The findings demonstrate that the sustainable development of a science-based sector does not depend on the original priorities or directions, but rather on the level of consistency of those policies and their continuous evolution towards a complete systemic value generation system.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Where Are the Artists? Analyzing Economies of Agglomeration in Spain

By : I. Boal-San Miguel, L. C. Herrero-Prieto. ACEI Working Paper Series, AWP-11-2016, 2016.

Abstract : “The creative economy has become the subject of increasing interest in recent years, both in the area of cultural economics as well as in economic development studies and the analysis of spatial disparities. In this regard, various studies have examined the spatial logics of cultural and creative industries, although analyses into the location and agglomeration of artists therein remain few and far between, in other words inquiry into the activities location linked to artistic creation in a purer sense. The present work thus seeks to delve into location and spatial structure of the cultural sector in a Spanish region, focusing specifically on activities more closely linked to artistic creativity, such as literary creation, performing arts, bullfighting, music, cinema, etc. The work examines the autonomous community of Castilla y León as an example, and posits an analysis of the spatial distribution of artists using micro-spatial disaggregation, in other words taking the network of towns as the territorial analysis unit. Spatial econometric techniques are used to identify location patterns, pinpoint territorial activity clusters and to measure agglomeration economies. A first look at the findings reveals that the cultural sector in Castilla y León evidences a strong trend towards concentration, with spatial distribution patterns which lead to the formation of statistically significant cultural clusters and strong spatial dependence between territories over the whole of the period analysed (2005-2013).“ [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


A review of (almost) 20 years of regional innovation systems research

By : D. Doloreux, I. Porto Gomez. European Planning Studies, ISSN 1469-5944, 2016.

Abstract : “The literature on regional innovation systems (RISs) has grown impressively in the last two decades. The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive assessment of all RIS articles published in scholarly journals between 1998 and 2015. It aims to inform researchers of the empirical results obtained so far and highlight areas that need further work. This review describes how the RIS field has developed, charts the current body of RIS research and discusses recommendations for moving the RIS field forward.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Comparative Advantage and Agglomeration of Economic Activity

By : M. Pflüger, T. Tabuchi. IZA Working Paper DP No. 10273, 2016.

Abstract : “The division of labor between and within countries is driven by two fundamental forces, comparative advantage and increasing returns. We set up a simple Ricardian model with a Marshallian input sharing mechanism to study their interplay. The key insight that emerges is that the interaction between agglomeration economies and comparative advantage involves a fundamental tension which is intricately affected by trade costs. A reduction of trade costs fosters the dispersive impact of comparative advantage in sectors governed by this force whilst the impact of agglomeration economies is enhanced by trade cost reductions in the increasing returns sector. The key implication for international trade is that the wage ratio between large and small economies is not only shaped by the primitives that determine agglomeration economies and comparative advantage but also, and differentially, by the sectoral levels of trade costs. The fundamental implication for an economic geography context where labor is mobile across locations is that partial agglomeration emerges when agglomeration economies are strong relative to comparative advantage, and this is more likely the lower are trade costs in increasing returns sectors and the higher are trade costs in sectors governed by comparative advantage. The model may serve as a foundation for an urban system where the endogenously emerging larger city exhibits more diversity in production.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


When regional innovation policies meet policy rationales and evidence: a plea for policy analysis

By : S. Borrás, J. Jordana. European Planning Studies, ISSN 1469-5944, 2016.

Abstract : “In spite of recent advancements regarding regional innovation policy rationales and evidence, there are few analyses about the actual features of existing regional innovation policies. Nevertheless, a policy analysis perspective is important in order to recognize their distinctive patterns across regions, and to understand how rationales and evidence can be translated into policy-making. To this purpose, this paper develops a framework to study the extent to which regional innovation policies have changed during the past few years. Since the mid-2000s, there has been an important development of innovation policy rationales, advocating for more specialization; likewise, greater data availability at the regional level has allowed more sophisticated assessment of innovation performance. Finally, the crisis since 2008 has had ravaging effects in some regions, with job losses and severe economic sluggishness. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect transforming dynamics in regional innovation policies. Against this backdrop, the paper compares the institutional frameworks and budgetary priorities of four Spanish regions during the period 2001–2014: Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia and Andalusia. In so doing, it aims at studying the extent to which regional governments have readily addressed past and new challenges related to their regional innovation system, and if so, how.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Celebrating 30 years of innovation system research: What you need to know about innovation systems

By : M. Klein, A. Sauer. Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences, No. 17-2016, 2016.

Abstract : “On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Innovation System research, this paper presents an extensive literature review on this large field of innovation research. Building on an analytical basis of the commonalities “system” and “innovation”, the authors analyze the four main Innovation System approaches: National Innovation Systems (NIS), Regional Innovation Systems (RIS), Sectoral Innovation Systems (SIS) and Technological Innovation Systems (TIS). The analysis is structured systematically along ten comprehensive criteria. Starting with the founder(s) of each theory and the research program within each Innovation System approach was developed (1), the basic thoughts of each Innovation System approach are explained (2). For five case studies most cited (3), spatial boundaries are examined (4) and units of analyses are derived (5). By comparing the underlying theoretical concept and empirical results, the authors show patterns in the evolution of Innovation System research overall. By studying the basic components (6) and a functional analysis (7), each Innovation System approach is broken down into structural pieces and functional processes. If available, the authors present one or several taxonomies (8) for each Innovation System approach and summarize similar approaches (9), in order to classify and integrate the approaches into the ongoing innovation research. The identification of further research (10) shows which steps will need to be taken in the next years in order to evolve Innovation System research further and deeper. After the conclusion, the extensive table of comparison is presented which can serve as a guideline for academics and practitioners from basic and applied science, industry or policy that need to understand which Innovation System approach may be best for their specific analytical purposes.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Knowledge composition, Jacobs externalities and innovation performance in European regions

By: C. Antonelli, F. Crespi, C. Mongeau Ospina, G. Scellato. Regional Studies, ISSN 1360-0591, 2016.

Abstract: “Knowledge composition, Jacobs externalities and innovation performance in European regions. Regional Studies. This paper analyses the role of the composition of the regional stock of knowledge in explaining innovation performance. It provides three main contributions. First, it investigates the relevance of Jacobs knowledge externalities in characterizing the technological capabilities at the regional level. Second, it applies the Hidalgo–Hausmann (HH) methodology to analyze knowledge composition by looking at patent data of 214 regions, located in 27 state members of the European Union during the years 1994–2008. Third, it econometrically assesses the role of knowledge base composition in a knowledge-generation function. The results of the empirical analysis confirm that the characterization of the regional knowledge base through the HH indicators provides interesting information to understanding its composition and to qualify it as a provider of the Jacobs knowledge externalities that account for the dynamics of regional innovative performance.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]