This monthly selection of articles has been carried out by Philippe Gugler and Michael Keller, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg.
Previous selection of articles:
Founders and disseminators of cluster research.
By : Luciana Lazzeretti, Silvia Rita Sedita and Annalisa Caloffi. Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 21-43, 2014.
Abstract : «The purpose of this article is to review cluster research and its evolution by considering the works of the most prominent researchers in the field over an extended period of time using a bibliometric analysis based on statistical analysis and social network tools. The point of departure is an original database, created by the authors, consisting of 1586 academic articles about clusters or industrial districts that were published from 1989 to 2010 in international scientific journals. The article identifies a group of articles belonging to the main disseminators of the cluster concept. A backward citation analysis discovers further contributions, which are grouped into sub-communities via a clustering algorithm. The procedure enables not only the identification of local research communities based largely around sub-disciplines but also boundary spanners linking different communities of scholars scattered around the world. In so doing, we offer a picture of the origin and development of the cluster concept along with a new interpretation of the features that boosted the rhetorical power of cluster research: multi-disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and global dimension.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Identification of Employment Concentration Areas.
By : Frank P. van den Heuvel, Peter W. de Langen, Karel H. van Donselaar and Jan C. Fransoo. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 204-226, January 2014.
Abstract: « This article presents a method to identify “Absolute and Relative Employment Concentration (AREC) areas” for a particular industry. Two novel characteristics of the method are that it simultaneously analyses AREC, and that it combines spatial concentration per area with the spatial concentration in neighbouring areas. The method is easy to understand and apply. It is developed to assist regional policy makers and corporate decision-makers with their investment decisions related to new infrastructure or plants. The identification of concentration areas also allows for analysing the performance of these areas in relation to characteristics such as infrastructure availability and the housing and labour market. This can yield new academic insights that are relevant for regional planners. An application of the newly developed method to five industries in a Dutch province subdivided into 502 areas illustrates the value of the method in comparison to other methods.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Firm–worker matching in industrial clusters.
By : Octávio Figueiredo, Paulo Guimarães and Douglas Woodward. Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 1-19, 2014.
Abstract : «In this article we use a novel approach and a large Portuguese employer–employee panel data set covering most of the economy to study Alfred Marshall’s hypothesis that industrial agglomeration improves the quality of firm–worker matching. Our method employs recent developments in the estimation and analysis of models with high-dimensional fixed effects. Using wage regressions with controls for multiple sources of observed and unobserved heterogeneity, we find little evidence that the quality of matching increases with firm clustering within the same industry. This result supports Freedman (2008) analysis of the software industry in one U.S. state. Since our final regressions still uncover evidence for a large wage premium from industrial clustering, the results suggest that agglomeration advantages may stem from sources beyond labor matching. The wage premium also improves with urbanization economies, in line with previous work.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Examining the Role of Geographical Proximity in a Cluster's Transformation Process: The Case of Taiwan's Machine Tool Industry.
By : Liang-Chih Chen and Zi-Xin Lin. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 1-19, January 2014.
Abstract: « This paper examines the relationship between geographical proximity and a cluster's sustained dynamism with a specific focus on the role of geographical proximity in the transformation of cluster firms' production and learning organizations. Using Taiwan's machine tool cluster as an empirical case, this article studies the nature of various intra- and extra-cluster technological networks established by local firms to tackle the cluster's developmental inertia. In contrast to most recent studies that seem to consider geographical proximity less relevant to the sustained prosperity of incumbent clusters, our case study finds that geographical proximity continues to be a critical factor underlying agglomerated firms' capacity to maintain and explore diverse capabilities within and outside the clusters. On the one hand, co-location allows these firms and their coupled actors to experiment with a range of technological networks and organizational forms in the face of the changing competitive conditions. On the other hand, while the spatial boundaries of important technological networks in the cluster are not necessarily confined to the locality, we find that geographical proximity among networked members is the key to the emergence of and better governing over those crucial extra-cluster networks. In addition to responding to the call for empirical work exploring the relationships between geographical proximity and non-geographical proximity in knowledge creation and exchange, this article contributes to the cluster literature by providing evidence on the evolution of clusters and whether the advantages associated with geographical clustering persist over time.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Global cluster networks—foreign direct investment flows from Canada to China.
By : Harald Bathelt and Peng-Fei Li. Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 45-71, 2014.
Abstract : «Using a network perspective of multinational firms, this article develops conceptions of global cluster networks and global city-region networks that are based on foreign direct investment (FDI) activities. The article first formulates a global cluster-network hypothesis suggesting that multinational cluster firms are more likely to set up new foreign affiliates in other, similarly specialized clusters to keep up with global industry dynamics. Conversely, it is suggested that non-cluster firms are more likely to avoid cluster destinations in their FDIs. Second, it is hypothesized that cluster networks generate connections between city-regions in different countries that are horizontal and vertical in character and thus shape global city-region networks. To test these hypotheses, the spatial patterns of 299 FDI cases from Canada to China between 2006 and 2010 are investigated, generally supporting the hypotheses developed.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Clusters versus Cluster Initiatives, with Focus on the ICT Sector in Poland.
By : Arkadiusz Michał Kowalski and Andrzej Marcinkowski. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 20-45, January 2014.
Abstract: « The article focuses on the topic of clustering, which has become a popular concept, both from the academic and political perspective, and as an efficient business model. The distinction between clusters, understood as geographical concentrations of specific industries, and cluster initiatives, understood as more formalized actions undertaken by regional actors, is proposed. The primary objective of this study is to verify if these two types of structures are overlapping each other. This problem arises because the motivation for forming some cluster initiatives may be different economic policy instruments rather than existing market potential of a specific regional economy. The study finds that not all of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) cluster initiatives in Poland represent real concentration of ICT-related divisions included in statistical classification of economic activities in the European community Rev. 2 classification, as measured by location quotients (LQs) for indicators on employment, firms' incomes and number of enterprises. However, there is a visible pattern that the LQs are higher in smaller geographic areas (NUTS 4 (Nomenclature of units for territorial statistics)), which usually represent big cities, being the cores of cluster initiatives. The study also discusses the phenomenon of the internationalization of clusters and the value added to that process from forming formalized cluster initiatives, which create favourable institutional framework for transborder cooperation.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Large mining enterprises and regional development in Chile: between the enclave and cluster.
By : Martín Arias, Miguel Atienza and Jan Cademartori. Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 73-95, 2014.
Abstract : «Various regions have recently proposed the creation of clusters around large-scale mining. However, until the 1980s, mining regions were predominantly considered productive enclaves. This article analyzes the case of the Antofagasta Region, the main mining region in Chile. A descriptive analysis is put forward that addresses the ideal types of the mining cluster and enclave, establishing as criteria of comparison the mechanisms proposed by Marshall as sources of agglomeration economies. Despite strong growth, the Antofagasta Region approximates more a mining enclave than a cluster. This implies the need to revise and adapt the concept of enclave to the current reality.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Regional Competitiveness in Central European Countries: In Search of a Useful Conceptual Framework.
By : Jan Ženka, Josef Novotný and Pavel Csank. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 164-183, January 2014.
Abstract: « The goal of this discussion paper is to examine the relevance of selected influential theoretical and conceptual approaches to regional competitiveness for specific geographical and institutional contexts of Central European (CE) regions. We argue that strategic documents and policies (both nation- and region-wide) in CE countries are based on un-critical applications of a few popular concepts of competitiveness that were originally proposed and mainly applied in Western European and US regions. Existing empirical evidence documents a strong role of exogenous factors of competitiveness in CE regions, the in-house character of firm innovations and weak demand for innovations, and other impediments of R&D collaboration. We suggest that these (and other factors) limit the applicability of concepts such as regional innovation systems and Porterian clusters in the context of many CE regions. On the other hand, we argue that some other concepts such as the global production networks perspective or related variety and economic complexity can provide some relevant and inspiring frameworks for analysing regional competitiveness in CE countries.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Policy Strategies for New Regionalism: Different Spatial Logics for Cultural and Business Policies in Norwegian City Regions.
By : Knut Hidle and Einar Leknes. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 126-142, January 2014.
Abstract: « This article asks about differences and similarities in the way cultural policy and business policy deal with regions in Norwegian city regions. The article discusses New Regionalism as a particular spatial practice, and stresses the difference between regionalism as a bottom-up process driven by local stakeholders and regionalization as a top-down process driven by state bodies. The role and significance of New Regionalism in city-regional policy-making is investigated. Empirical findings shows that cultural policy at the city-regional level is still under strong influence from a top-down state regionalization, while business policy at the city-regional level is, to a large extent, an example of bottom-up regionalism. The spatial logic of these two policy-fields differs from each other. Business policy rests on an interpretation of region/place as a container of established networks, relations and interactions that should be coordinated in order to strengthen the region in its competition with other regions. Cultural policy rests on another interpretation that is not territorial in the same degree, but rather on a logic that place/region is created as relations between persons, groups and institutions within a geographical scope that is not predefined and fixed with borders and boundaries.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Regional Innovation Policy and Innovative Behaviour: Looking for Additional Effects.
By : Davide Antonioli, Alberto Marzucchi and Sandro Montresor. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 64-83, January 2014.
Abstract: « This paper aims to evaluate the additionality of innovation policy in terms of innovative behaviours at the regional level. Innovative behaviours are identified both within and across firm and regional boundaries. The role of policy is evaluated for a sample of firms in the Italian region of Emilia–Romagna (ER), exploiting an original, survey-based data set. Propensity score matching is applied to investigate the effects of an innovation subsidy. Funded firms are found to be more likely to upgrade their competencies, compared with similar non-subsidized firms. On the other hand, in most cases, innovation cooperation with other business partners within or outside the region is not significantly affected by policy. Ultimately, the investigated innovation policy in the ER region seems to show what might be termed “cognitive capacity additionality”, rather than “network additionality”.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]
Urban Competitiveness And Innovation.
Edited by : Pengfei Ni and Zheng Qiongjie. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, UK, 2014.
Abstract: « Against the backdrop of today’s climate of economic globalization and the rapid development of information, this timely book explores the complex concept of competitiveness between cities. The expert contributors illustrate that innovation is a prerequisite for increasing urban competitiveness, and highlight the various ways that urban innovation-based competitiveness can be approached. Themes explored include:
• industrial clusters
• competitiveness between major cities
• local policy and competition enhancement
• governance to combat global climate change
• innovation in urban policy and collaboration between cities
• cluster theory and cluster-based economic development policy
• the strategic shift towards domestic markets and service enhancement.
Scholars and policymakers in the fields of economics, public sector economics, innovation, technology and urban competitiveness will find this book to be an enlightening read..» [ABSTRACT FROM EDITORS]