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When Micro Shapes the Meso: Learning Networks in a Chilean Wine Cluster

Elisa Giuliani () and Martin Bell ()
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Martin Bell: SPRU, University of Sussex

No 115, SPRU Working Paper Series from SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: Most analyses of the relationship between spatial clustering and the technological learning of firms have emphasised the influence of the former on the latter, and have focused on intra-cluster learning as the driver of innovative performance. This paper reverses those perspectives. It examines the influence of individual firms' absorptive capacities on both the functioning of the intra-cluster knowledge system and its interconnection with extra-cluster knowledge. It applies social network analysis to identify different cognitive roles played by cluster firms and the overall structure of the knowledge system of a wine cluster in Chile. The results show that knowledge is not diffused evenly 'in the air', but flows within a core group of firms characterised by advanced absorptive capacities. Firms' different cognitive roles include some - as in the case of technological gatekeepers - that contribute actively to the acquisition, creation and diffusion of knowledge. Others remain cognitively isolated from the cluster, though in some cases strongly linked to extra-cluster knowledge. Possible implications for policy are noted.

Keywords: clusters; absorptive capacity; knowledge communities; technological gatekeepers (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2004-04-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ino, nep-net and nep-tid
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Published in Research Policy, Volume 34, Number 1, 2005, pp.47-68. (New title: The Micro-Determinants of Meso-Level Learning and Innovation: Evidence from a Chilean Wine Cluster)

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