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The Birth and the Rise of the Cluster Concept

Luciana Lazzeretti (), Silvia Rita Sedita () and Annalisa Caloffi ()

No 144, "Marco Fanno" Working Papers from Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno"

Abstract: Why has the cluster concept proved so successful in this millennium? Which are the authors, the scientific areas, and journals that have helped to enliven the debate in this era, characterized by the transition from a solid modernity to a liquid modernity, as the well-known sociologist Zygmunt Bauman would say? With this work, we have aimed to answer these research questions by adopting an evolutionary approach. By means of a bibliometric analysis based on descriptive statistics and social network analysis tools, we have identified the founders and the main disseminators of the cluster concept across time. The point of departure is an original database, created by the authors, consisting of 1586 academic articles about industrial clusters that have been published from 1989 to 2010 in international scientific journals (source: ISI Web of Science). Our claim is that the Porterian contribution on clusters opens up a global debate over a concept that was Òin the airÓ many years before. The cluster concept is rooted in the Marshallian tradition, and is strongly related to the Italian and European literature, which is more familiar with the narrower concept of the industrial district. By relaxing some of the specific features that characterized the industrial district model, a more inclusive concept is promoted, which, in a prey-predator relationship, assimilates previous contributions. By now, the cluster concept has gained international recognition and been constantly sustained by a theoretical discussion that encompasses a variety of disciplines and approaches. Our evidence shows that this success can be attributed basically to the liquid properties we have identified: multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary qualities and global dimension.

Keywords: cluster; industrial districts; liquid modernity; bibliometric analysis; co-citation analysis. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23 pages
Date: 2012-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-his, nep-hme, nep-sbm and nep-ure
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