TCI Network
25 September 2014

This monthly selection of articles has been carried out by Philippe Gugler and Michael Keller, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg.


Cluster Policies, Organising Capacity and Regional Resilience: Evidence from German Case Studies

By : Matthias Kiese and Christian Hundt. Raumforschung und Raumordnung, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 117-131.

Abstract: « Resilience refers to the ability of a regional economy to recover from external shocks and to return to a sustainable growth path afterwards. This paper departs from the assumption that by improving a region’s organising capacity, cluster policies can strengthen regional resilience. We argue that the impact of cluster policies on regional resilience depends on the portfolio of clusters targeted for promotion, which may increase specialisation, unrelated or related variety in a region’s economic fabric. Based on a multidimensional model of cluster policies, case study evidence from seven German regions is drawn from an interview survey of 145 practitioners, policy advisors and independent observers. By illustrating the connections between cluster policy, organising capacity, and specialisation versus variety, these findings can be linked conceptually to regional economic resilience. This argument allows for some policy recommendations and the formulation of issues for further research.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS


Coping with Economic Crises—The Role of Clusters

By : Asgeir Skålholt and Taran Thune. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 10, Pages 1993-2010, 2014.

Abstract: « The paper analyses the role clusters can play in coping with the impacts of economic crises, specifically by addressing how cluster organizations have acted to meet the challenges following the economic crises in Norway in the period 2008–2010. The paper investigates whether cluster maturity influences how the cluster acts in response to a crisis. To shed light on these questions, survey data from Norwegian cluster organizations were collected in two waves (spring 2009 and autumn 2010), and case studies of four cluster organizations provide further detail. The data indicate that clusters play a role in reducing uncertainty and improving access to necessary resources in crises periods. The data indicate that these advantages are not only due to increased collaboration between firms within the cluster, but that cluster organizations engage in considerable lobbying on behalf of their firms in regards to regional and national policy makers and public funding bodies. When comparing the impact experienced by mature and emerging clusters and their adaptation strategies, the data show that more mature clusters adapted to recent crises by implementing new innovation strategies and increasing collaboration and competence-building activities, to a greater extent than emerging clusters.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


The Global Agglomeration of Multinational Firms

By : Laura Alfaro and Maggie Xiaoyang Chen. HBS Business, Government & The International Economy Unit Working Papers, Volume 6, Issue 3, No. 10-043.

Abstract: « The explosion of multinational activities in recent decades is rapidly transforming the global landscape of industrial production. But are the emerging clusters of multinational production the rule or the exception? What drives the offshore agglomeration of multinational firms in comparison to the agglomeration of domestic firms? Using a unique worldwide plant-level dataset that reports detailed location, ownership, and operation information for plants in over 100 countries, we construct a spatially continuous index of pairwise-industry agglomeration and investigate the patterns and determinants underlying the global economic geography of multinational firms. Our analysis presents new stylized facts that suggest the emerging offshore clusters of multinationals are not a simple reflection of domestic industrial clusters. Agglomeration economies including capital-good market externality and technology diffusion play a more important role in the offshore agglomeration of multinationals than the agglomeration of domestic firms. These findings remain robust when we address potential reverse causality by exploring the regional pattern and process of agglomeration.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Space of Creative Industries: A Case Study of Spatial Characteristics of Creative Clusters in Shanghai

By : Jin-Liao He and Hans Gebhardt. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 11, Pages 2351-2368, 2014.

Abstract: « The rapid rise of creative or cultural industries not only contributes to regional economic growth, but also to a revised spatial model of urban structure, helping in the redevelopment of old town spaces. However, the spatial characteristics of creative clusters, especially at the micro-city level, are not fully understood. This study attempts to characterize the spatiality of creative clusters on the basis of a literature review and empirical study of Shanghai. By using Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial analysis and interviews, this paper examines the spatial features of creative clusters in Shanghai and their connection with urban historical, social, cultural and political aspects. It finds that creative clusters are primarily distributed in particular locations of Shanghai, namely in the inner-city, old industrial districts, places close to universities, Central Business Districts (CBDs), and entertainment and tourist zones. The old colonial zones in Shanghai play an important role in fostering the agglomeration of creative industries because of the special image of these spaces, in particular due to the abundant workshop spaces remaining from the industrial heritage. Great intimacy between creative industries and urban spaces becomes apparent in the case of Shanghai, demonstrating that the creative economy has become an important instrument in regenerating cities. Moreover, a differentiation in space among various categories of creative clusters in Shanghai was also noticed in this study.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Creativity and regional innovation: Evidence from EU regions

By : Leo Sleuwaegen and Priscilla Boiardi. Research Policy, Volume 43, Issue 9, Pages 1508–1522, 2014.

Abstract: « We analyse the role of creative workers in the region as a source and foundational element of regional innovation in the European Union. We show the empirical relevance of this factor – which we label inspiration – within the structure of a recursive model of regional innovation for a set of 83 European regions. We show that, when differentiated from the presence of regional intelligence – as measured by the availability of human capital – and from technological infrastructure, inspiration, along with the degree of development of national and regional institutions, has the strongest direct and indirect effects on regional patenting activity.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Localization of Business Services in European Regions: Large Urban Areas Stand Out

By : José A. Camacho-Ballesta, Yulia Melikhova and Manuel Hernández-Peinado. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 10, Pages 2094-2115, 2014.

Abstract: « The recent increase in business services in terms of both value added and employment has had a positive effect on regional economies, helping them to create a comparative advantage and contributing to the general development of regional productive systems. This heterogeneous set of activities is characterized, among others, by its uneven distribution in the territory. In this paper we aim to identify the key factors that influence the location of business services within the NUTS 2 regions of the European Union. Using a multivariate analytical approach (combining a principal components factor analysis and a multiple linear regression by means of ordinary least squares), four key factors have been identified. In terms of their influence on the location of business services, we can pinpoint the following factors: urban dimension, competitiveness, accessibility and economic dynamism. It was found that business services tend to locate in urban, densely populated and dynamic areas with high levels of competitiveness and easy access.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Assessing the Magnitude of Creative Employment: A Comprehensive Mapping and Estimation of Existing Methodologies

By : Sara Cruz and Aurora A.C. Teixeira. European Planning Studies, Volume 22, Issue 10, Pages 2172-2209, 2014.

Abstract: « The present study surveys and maps the existing methodological approaches for measuring creative employment. Based on a unique matched employer–employee data-set which encompasses over three million Portuguese workers, we found that the magnitude of the creative class varies considerably between approaches, ranging from 2.5%, using the conventional industry-based taxonomy and 30.8%, using Florida's occupational proposal. The disparities are justified on the basis of the departure definition of what creative employment is and  operationalization issues regarding which industries and occupations should  be included. Interestingly, when we focus on “core” creative employment, the figures conveyed by the distinct approaches are strikingly similar (around 6%), suggesting that, at least where core creative employment is concerned, the distinct approaches converge. The diversity of approaches and measurements are not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but has to be adequately acknowledged in order to accomplish adequate public-policy guidance.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


The location patterns of artistic clusters: A metro- and neighborhood-level analysis

By : Carl Grodach, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, Nicole Foster and James Murdoch III. Urban Studies, Volume 51, Issue 13, Pages 2822-2843, 2014.

Abstract: « Although minority and immigrant entrepreneurs in the US have chosen to concentrate in low-profit retail and service lines of business clustered geographically in urban minority neighbourhoods, their reasons for doing so are unclear. We investigate their motivations by analysing viability among urban small businesses; specifically, we compare the longevity of firms targeting clients in minority neighbourhoods to those serving clients in nonminority-white residential areas. Our broader concerns are to understand why the entrepreneurial occupational choice has been embraced. A key objective is to identify specific barriers that may retard small-firm creation and development in minority-neighbourhood environs. While some claim this market offers attractive opportunities, others stress that predominance of minority- and immigrant-owned firms in this sector reflects the fact that only the least desirable market niches are accessible to them. We find that serving local clienteles in minority neighbourhoods is strongly related to firm closure and low profitability.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Smart Specialisation, Opportunities and Challenges for Regional Innovation Policy   

By Dominique Foray. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK, 2014.

Abstract: «This is the first book on a new policy approach that has been widely adopted in Europe and beyond. It analyses the concept of smart specialisation and discuss the need for smart specialisation strategies, explains why the approach is new and different from more standard policy processes and explores what are the conditions for successful implementation.

Smart Specialisation: Opportunities and Challenges for Regional Innovation Policy describes the origin of the concept, explains when a smart specialisation policy is necessary, provides a detailed analysis of the design principles of the policy and discuss the pertinence of this approach according to regional development levels. Finally the book discuss the practical implementation phase of the process – based on the first feedback acquired from certain regions engaged in the preparation of their smart specialisation strategy.

The book is original in that it provides the first full analysis of smart specialisation strategies both at theoretical and practical levels. It has been written at the critical period of the implementation of smart specialisation strategies in every region in Europe. The fact that the EU has adopted smart specialisation as a mandatory principle for every region and member states will make this book well received by and very useful for: i) policy makers in regional and national administrations in Europe, ii) policy makers in other parts of the world who are in charge of regional policy and have heard about the concept, iii) consultants, analysts and experts who are active on the "markets for smart specialisation diagnosis and expertise", iv) scholars, researchers and graduate students working in the field of regional studies, technology policy and geography of innovation.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]