TCI Network
25 September 2013

The selection of articles is carried out by Philippe Gugler and Michael Keller, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg, in collaboration with the following TCI members: Emily Wise, VINNOVA, Sweden; Katarzyna Kowalska, Consultant, Poland; Tatyana Mirolyubova, Perm State National Research University, Russia; Jaime del Castillo and Jonatan Paton, Infyde-Informacion y Desarrollo, SL, Spain; David Ireland, CSIRO - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia.


Previous selection of articles:

Acedemic articles on clusters - 1

Academic articles on clusters - 2


Cluster Initiative Greenbook 2.0

By : Göran Lindqvist, Christian Ketels and Örjan Sölvell. Ivory Tower Publishers, Stockholm, 2013.

Abstract: In the foreword to the original 2003 Greenbook (SoĢˆlvell, Lindqvist & Ketels, 2003), Professor Michael Porter wrote: “As more and more resources are devoted to efforts to foster cluster development, the need to understand best practice has become urgent”. The first Greenbook tried to do exactly that. We analyzed what cluster organizations were up to; what objectives they pursued, how they were initiated, governed and financed, and what explained their performance. We think it is fair to say that the Greenbook was very timely and was well received (and later translated into Czech and Polish). The number of downloads is now several tens of thousands. A couple of years after the Greenbook, we followed up with new data, focusing on cluster initiatives in developing and transition countries, and the “Bluebook”, was born. Now, a decade later, with fresh data from the 2012 Global Cluster Initiative Survey (GCIS), we are proud to present the Greenbook 2.0. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

The publication can be downloaded here.


Clusters and the New Growth Path for Europe

By : Christian Ketels and Sergiy Protsi. Work Package 301 MS 47 " Research paper on the role of clusters for the new growth path " Working Paper no 14, July 2013.

Abstract: This paper outlines elements of a conceptual framework that clarifies the role that clusters play relative to government policies and actions of individual companies in supporting the emergence of 'High Road' - strategies that lead to better New Gro wth Path - related outcomes. It then focuses on creating a new set of data that can start shedding light on the empirical relevance of this framework. The first main section of the paper draws on a new set of employment and wage data across European clusters . The data is used to analyze whether cluster presence is sign i fic an t ly correlated with higher wages, which as an indicator of higher productivity, are likely to signal the presence of 'High Road' - strategies. We then take a closer look at the scale of the r elationship relative to location - specific and other effects. We find cluster presence to be significantly related to higher wages, with the effect being moderate but meaningful. This suggest that cluster presence enhances the ability of economic activities to deliver high performance, but is unlikely to be able to substitute weak business environment conditions . The second section then deploys a wide range of regional performance data collected for the European Competitiveness Index and the European Cluster Observatory. We create indicators for New Growth Path performance and its main dimensions, and classify European regions by their performance patterns. This provides critical insights into the compatibility of the different economics, social, and ecologic al objectives pursued. We then relate these outcomes to the presence of strong cluster portfolios and strong business environment conditions. Both are most strongly associated with stronger economic outcomes, with lower impact on other dimensions of the Ne w Growth Path. The third section creates a new dataset of cluster initiative intensity at the regional and cluster category - level. It also classifies close to 1000 cluster initiatives in Europe by their engagement in New Growth Path - related activities. We then deploy this data to test the impact of cluster initiatives on regional New Growth Path - performance. Overall, we find evidence consistent with clusters playing a role in making 'High Road' - strategies more likely to emerge. We also find evidence that E uropean regions differ in their strategies towards these goals, with some being able to pursue all three dimensions in parallel. Cluster initiatives widely engage in New Growth Path - related activi t ies, indicating their potential as a tool in mobilizing joint action in these areas. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

The paper can be downloaded here.


Too close to collaborate? How geographic proximity could impede entrepreneurship and innovation.

By: Soumaya Ben Letaifaa and Yves Rabeau. Journal of Business Research, Volume 66, Issue 10, Pages 2071–2078, October 2013.

Abstract: « Numerous studies focus on successful clusters to demonstrate that geographic proximity enables collaboration and innovation. Yet, practitioners still need to understand why some clusters fail to collaborate despite their geographic proximity. This longitudinal study investigates an ICT public–private innovation cluster that fails to collaborate and explores how geographic, institutional, organizational, cognitive and social proximities interplay. The findings show that: (1) social proximity is the most important proximity to achieving collaboration; (2) close geographic proximity can be a barrier to social proximity; and (3) geographic distance is seen as an accelerator of entrepreneurship and innovation. These findings contribute to the literature on clusters and innovation by arguing that contexts of high cognitive, organizational, institutional and geographic proximities do not facilitate communication and collaboration. Specifically, geographic proximity can have a negative impact on social proximity. Finally the paper illustrates that clusters created by economic policies are less prone to innovation compared to spontaneous ecosystems emerging from private entrepreneurial initiatives. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Proximity, networking and knowledge production in Europe: What lessons for innovation policy?

By : Emanuela Marrocu, Raffaele Paci and Stefano Usai. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 80, Issue 8, Pages 1484–1498, October 2013.

Abstract : « This paper aims at investigating the role of different types of proximity on the technological activity of a region within the context of a knowledge production function, where R&D expenditure and human capital are the main internal inputs. We thus assess to what extent the creation of new ideas in a certain region is enhanced by knowledge flows coming from proximate regions. In particular, we examine in detail different kinds of proximity by combining the usual geographical dimension with the institutional, technological, social and organizational proximity. The analysis is implemented for an ample dataset referring to 276 regions in 29 European countries (EU27 plus Norway, Switzerland) over the last decade. Results show that human capital and R&D are clearly essential for innovative activity with the former being much more effective in driving the production of knowledge. As for the proximity and network effects, we find that technological proximity outperforms the geographic one, whilst a limited role is played by social and organizational networks. As a result, the first policy message is that European regions still need to focus on policies aimed at increasing the endowments of well-educated labour force and therefore their knowledge base. Furthermore, we need innovation policies based on each region's specific innovation potential, due to the existing differences in geographical, cognitive, institutional, social and organizational structures and networks. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


The essential role of place within the creative industries: Boundaries, networks and play

By : Karenjit Clare, Cities, Volume 34, Pages 52–57, October 2013.

Abstract : « This paper examines the role of place and spatial boundaries for the creative industries. Evidence from interviews with 70 workers in the advertising industry in London reveals the importance of geographical clustering for workers in this sector despite the potential of digital technologies. Creative firms are embedded in place, where the importance of urban aesthetics and social networks leads to tight geographic clustering. The aim of this paper is (i) to explore how and why geography matters for workers in the ‘new’ or ‘changing’ economy and (ii) how this creates a shared identity between creative workers. The article concludes that despite technological breakthroughs that have caused the death of distance, it turns out that geography is still important. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Identity creation and cluster construction: the case of the Paso Robles wine region

By : Craig Beebe, Farshid Haque, Chelsea Jarvis, Martin Kenney, and Donald Patton. Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 13 (5), pages 711-740, September 2013.

Abstract : « Through a study of a newly recognized wine production cluster in Paso Robles, CA, this article demonstrates that in addition to the commonly accepted features of an industrial cluster, such as suppliers, skilled labor and local knowledge sharing, a hitherto largely ignored feature is identity, which, while a socially emergent feature, has economic value. The wine industry is particularly suited as an ideal type because the cluster is legally strictly circumscribed. We demonstrate how cluster identity formation is the result of internal developments and external validation. In culture goods industries such as wine, identity performs a crucial role in the cluster’s development and success, but we suggest that this can be extended to other industrial clusters that have successfully created an identity. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


The dynamics of interfirm networks along the industry life cycle: The case of the global video game industry, 1987–2007

By : Pierre-Alexandre Balland, Mathijs De Vaan and Ron Boschma. Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 13 (5), pages 741-765, September 2013.

Abstract : « In this article, we study the formation of network ties between firms along the life cycle of a creative industry. We focus on three mechanisms that drive network formation: (i) network endogeneity which stresses a path-dependent change originating from previous network structures, (ii) five forms of proximity (e.g. geographical proximity) which ascribe tie formation to the similarity of attributes of firms and (iii) individual characteristics which refer to the heterogeneity in the capabilities of firms to exploit external knowledge. The article employs a stochastic actor-oriented model to estimate the – changing – effects of these mechanisms on the formation of the interfirm network in the global video game industry from 1987 to 2007. Our findings indicate that, on average, the direction of the effects of the three mechanisms are stable over time, but that their weights change with the degree of maturity of the industry. To an increasing extent, video game firms tend to prefer to partner over short distances and with more cognitively similar firms as the industry evolves. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Closing the gap between absolute and relative measures of localization, concentration or specialization

By: Frank Bickenbach, Eckhardt Bode and Christiane Krieger-Boden. Papers in Regional Science, Volume 92, Issue 3, pages 465–479, August 2013.

Abstract : « Empirical studies on the evolution of concentration, specialization or localization of economic activity have provided ambiguous results that strongly depend on the researcher's choice of the reference. This paper develops a decomposition method for Theil indices of localization that clarifies where this ambiguity originates from. The method allows expressing the difference between absolute and relative Theil indices of localization in terms of Theil indices that are subject to straightforward interpretation. Illustrations show that the divergence of absolute from relative localization in the EU-15 and in UK manufacturing is largely a statistical artifact inherited from the peculiarities of the industry classifications. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Relations among Clusters in Six Chinese City Regions

By : Ren Lu, Ruikan Zhang and Torger Reve. European Planning Studies, Volume 21, Issue 8, pages 1189-1209, August 2013.

Abstract : « Despite the considerable number of papers that have discussed industrial clusters, it is surprising that there is little research evidence on relations among clusters. This article collects longitudinal data on three low-tech and two high-tech industrial clusters in six cities in the dynamic Pearl River Delta of the People's Republic of China. The findings provide empirical support to both the Marshall–Arrow–Romer model, which argues for the importance of homogeneous (specialized) clusters and the Jacobs model, which argues for the importance of heterogeneous (diversified) clusters. Both homogeneous and heterogeneous clusters in the same region influence one another's cluster size and economic output. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Reflections on cluster policies

By : Steven Brakman and Charles van Marrewijk. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 6 (2), pages 217-231, July 2013.

Abstract : « Economic activity tends to cluster. This results in productivity gains. For policy makers this offers an opportunity to formulate and promote policies that foster clustering of economic activity. Paradoxically, although agglomeration rents are often found in empirical research, a rationale for cluster policies does not exist. A brief tour through the literature shows that cluster policies face more problems than is often assumed in policy circles. We reflect on the main issues at stake and conclude that, if not carefully applied, cluster policy may do more harm than good. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


What can experience with clusters teach us about fostering regional smart specialisation?

By : María José Aranguren Querejeta and James R. Wilson, Ekonomiaz, Volume 83, pages, 127-174, June 2013.

Abstract : « The new orientation of regional innovation policies in Europe requires the development of research and innovation smart specialisation strategies (RIS3) so as to support Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) investments where there are clear synergies with existing productive capacities and capabilities. RIS3 are advocated in a context where most European regions have established ‘cluster’ policies that seek to facilitate relationships of cooperation between firms and other institutions working in related areas and that share much common ground with the underlying principles of RIS3. Developing and refining RIS3 in theory and practice therefore raises important questions regarding how they relate to clusters and indeed what can be learned from the more established practice of cluster policies for the design and implementation of policies supporting RIS3. The aim of this paper is to explore the links between these two policy agendas. Key synergies among them are explored in the context of each of the steps in Foray et al.’s (2012) Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation and by drawing on two decades of experience with cluster policy in the Basque Country. The paper signals several concrete areas where regional policy-makers might look to their existing cluster policies and clusters when seeking to articulate new regional processes towards smart specialisation strategies. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


The Spanish AEIs Programme 2007-2011: new insights on clusters and cluster policy contribution to competitiveness

By : Jaime del Castillo, Jonatan Paton and Belen Barroeta. Sviluppo Locale, Industrial districts and clusters, Volume 40, 2013.

Abstract : « Clusters and cluster policy has become a widespread phenomena. The general thought shows that, somehow, clusters are directly related to business competitiveness and regional growth. In this context, The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce of the Spanish Government has been implementing a cluster policy since 2007 known as the AEIs Programme. On 2011, after a five years period, a final evaluation has been carried out. 165 clusters have been selected and become AEIs. These AEIs represent 3,934 firms and 529 institutions. These organizations account for a total of 750,000 job, making up 4.3% of the total Spanish employment figure. This total rises to 11.8% considering total knock-on effects (direct+indirect). The Ministry has financed these AEIs to the tune of € 32.8 million, a small amount considering the huge knock-on effect of these clusters achieved in term of private cofinancing (€39.1 million) and other support programmes (€1,177 million). A new evaluation methodology shows that in addition to this, AEIs and AEIs Programme can contribute to business competitiveness up to nearly 20-30% of total cost and sales. The aim of this paper is to present the main results of the Spanish cluster policy case as well as an innovative evaluation methodology for clusters and cluster policy. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Industrial Clustering and Innovative Output

By : Barak S. Aharonson, Joel A.C. Baum and Maryann P. Feldman, July 2013

Abstract: The paper examines the ways firms benefit from know ledge spillovers in industrial clusters, contrasting the effects to firms not located in clu sters or located in clusters not focused on the firm’s application. Clustered firms are eight times more innovative when located in clusters. While the literature on organization agglomeration has highlighted a potential trade-off between the benefit and cost of co-location in terms or kno wledge spillovers, our findings that agglomerations are very important to new innovative driven ventures. However, our research also indicates that although on average new venture s benefit from agglomeration, more work is needed to explore the mechanisms by which some orga nizations benefit from co-location and knowledge spillovers while others may not (as indic ated by prior work) [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

The paper can be downloaded here.


The Resilience of Clusters in the Context of Increasing Globalization: The Basque Wind Energy Value Chain.

By: Aitziber Elola, Mario Davide Parrilli and Roberta Rabellotti. European Planning Studies, Volume 21, Issue 7, Pages 989–1006, July 2013.

Abstract: « In this paper, we study how globalization impacts on the structure and governance patterns of value chains and on the resilience of local clusters. We study the value chains related to two Basque (Spain) companies in the wind energy industry, Iberdrola and Gamesa, and the local cluster to which they belong. We find that firms within the cluster have different types of relationships with lead companies depending on their competences and the complexity of their products. As a consequence, firms also present different potential for growth and/or resilience: some have the capacity to internationalize their operations and/or shift to the offshore wind market, others are vulnerable to competition from providers in the emerging countries. Against this context, we discuss how the cluster responds to these challenges and the role of policy.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


The Competitive Position of the Basque Aeroespatial Cluster in Global Value Chains: A Historical Analysis.

By : Aitziber Elola, Jesus Valdaliso and Santiago Lopez. European Planning Studies, Volume 21, Issue 7, Pages 1029–1045, July 2013.

Abstract: « In this paper, based on the case study of the aerospace cluster of the Basque Country (Spain), we aimed at analysing how local industries develop a new specialization, that is, how a cluster emerges, and how it evolves over time. For that purpose, apart from considering local factors (both forces that are internal to the cluster and to the territory), we explicitly consider the role of institutional and technological changes, and how they affect industry structure and governance patterns of global value chains (GVCs). We observe that global-scale regulations (deregulation and competition policy) and technological change, together with local factors such as the existence of anchor firms, local policies, related variety and social capital at regional and cluster levels played a significant role in the emergence of the cluster and how it became inserted in the GVCs. Later on, the development of suppliers' capabilities also had a relevant role in the evolution of the governance patterns of GVCs.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


The Economic Geography of the Meso-global Spaces: Integrating Multinationals and Clusters at the Local–Global Level.

By : Jose-Luis Hervas-Oliver and Rafael Boix-Domenech. European Planning Studies, Volume 21, Issue 7, Pages 1064–1080, July 2013.

Abstract : « The local–global phenomenon literature is fragmented between the fields of international business and economic geography (EG). In the case of the latter, the literature, produced within the global production networks (GPNs) and global value chain frameworks, does not address the central role of firms, especially multinationals which co-locate and connect territories along GPNs. This paper develops a cross-field conceptual integration in order to enrich the EG perspective, using qualitative research methodology to test the framework. The results have important implications for scholars and policymakers. » [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Clustering, MNEs, and Innovation: Who Benefits and How?

By : Gary Cook, Naresh Pandit, Hans Lööf and Börje Johansson. International Journal of the Economics of Business, Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 203-227, September 2013.

Abstract : « This paper explores three under-researched questions in the literature on multinational enterprises (MNEs), clustering, and innovation. First, to what extent does multinationality lead to higher rates of innovation activity and performance? Second, what, if any, is the link between MNE cluster location and innovation inputs and outputs? Third, are there any significant differences between enterprises belonging to domestic and overseas MNEs in these regards? Evidence is based primarily on 11,775 firms derived from the UK Community Innovation Survey 2007. Diversity in the regional economy exerts the most consistent positive influence, followed by the scale of employment in the enterprise’s own industry. Enterprises belonging to domestic MNEs appear to exert higher levels of innovation effort. However, evidence regarding their superiority in innovation outputs was weaker. Contrary to Michael Porter’s work, it appears that enterprises belonging to overseas firms benefit more than domestic firms.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]