Putting the watering can away –Towards a targeted (problem-oriented) cluster policy framework
Research Policy, 2021, vol. 50, issue 9
In view of the undisputed promising effects of regional clusters and spurred by lighthouse examples such as Silicon Valley, cluster policies have been popular in many countries worldwide. However, in recent years the complaints have become louder about the actual economic relevance and efficiency of such regional innovation policies. In particular, the high degree of standardization in the so far applied cluster policies, focusing primarily on collaborative incentives to strengthen the relational density in clusters, have been criticized as being rather ineffective and costly to society. In order to solve this one-size-fits-all problem, it has been proposed that cluster policies should instead focus on the concrete conditions and needs within regional clusters. The aim of this paper is to respond to this call by considering firm-, cluster- and market-/industry-specific particularities. Based on an extensive systematic review of the empirical literature about the relationship between clusters and firms’ performances, an overview about relevant conditions is elaborated. By integrating such an overview with the general policy rationales it becomes possible to identify potential problems, e.g. in terms of missing absorptive capacities, which cluster policy can purposefully address. For each identified problem, a potential targeted (problem-oriented) policy intervention is therefore suggested. The corresponding result of this procedure is a policy-framework that offers an increased practical value in terms of bringing forth specific adaptive cluster policies rather than one-size-fits-all policies and thereby contributing to a more sophisticated understanding of the design of cluster policies.
Keywords: innovation policy; cluster policy; cluster effect; firm performance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:respol:v:50:y:2021:i:9:s0048733321001347
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