Clusters dans ERIEP


Articles


ERIEP | Number 5 | Cluster policy for innovation and competitiveness

The new complexity of local production and the enlightened role of industrial policy: The Basque Country Case

The central idea of this work revolves around some structural transformations that are occurring within several local production systems in Europe (and worldwide) that affects their own competitiveness and development potential. These transformations have a significant impact also on theory, particularly discerning the relevance of the Porterian view vis-à-vis the ‘district approach’. The first deliberately widens the span of the cluster concept and reality in order to include a large variety of activities and a significant geographical size of production and market dynamics, whereas the second tends to equate the concept of cluster with that of district in two key aspects, i.e. geographical reach and sectoral width of industrial activities. Within this debate, this work offers two meaningful elements. First of all, it focuses on new cluster formations – four clusters in the Basque Country, Spain - that represent the new industrial complexity of local production systems. This complexity is developed endogenously as a means to respond to the new challenges set by globalization. These case studies help to verify whether the former conceptualizations are definitive or need to incorporate new key features. Secondly and simultaneously, the relevance of a proactive regional policy approach is discussed as a means to build up such competitive responses to globalization.

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Look before you LEP: English Cluster Policy from RDAs to LEPs

The policy and academic debate on industrial clusters has developed in a context dominated by ‘industry champions’ which are not necessarily national. Despite the fact that industrial districts first emerged and indeed were first studied in England by Alfred Marshall over 100 years ago, the spatial dimension of economic activities has in fact been marginal to much of the economic and policy debate in the UK. The idea that industrial clusters could be engines of regional growth was only seriously taken on board in the late 1990s by the newly created Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in England, and by development agencies in Scotland and Wales. Regional and cluster policies were subsequently used as a key part of UK regions’ economic strategies over the late 1990s and 2000s; despite some successes, question marks now remain over their future in England at least given the abolition of RDAs there from 2012. Favouring a supposedly ‘localist’ rather than regional agenda, the coalition Government elected in 2010 has replaced RDAs with smaller-scale Local Enterprise Partnership (LEPs) at the sub-regional level. With more limited powers than RDAs and much less funding, time will tell how these LEPs will perform in economic development terms generally and in terms of cluster policies specifically.

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Industrial clusters in China: Policy tools for further and more balanced development

This paper is aimed to provide some considerations about clusters in China as policy tools useful both to boost industrialization and to achieve wider policy goals. More precisely, cluster initiatives can effectively contribute to a balanced development, compensating economic and social bias induced by rapid growth, due to their characteristics and, particularly, their “bottom-up” features.

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