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Regional cluster policy: The Asian model vs. the OECD approach

Pessoa, Argentino (2012): Regional cluster policy: The Asian model vs. the OECD approach.

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Abstract

Nowadays, policy makers in charge of designing innovation policies, especially at the regional level, are more and more looking at the cluster approach either with a view to accelerate the existing clusters or for providing the basis for the emergence of new ones. In fact, not only as a consequence of their appeal as an interactive and territorially embedded vision of innovation but also owing to a lot of other reasons, clusters are usually considered as key instruments for promoting competitiveness, industrial development, innovation and growth. But, although cluster policies have a potential for generating benefits, the presence of potential benefits from cluster initiatives is not per se a sufficient foundation or a validation for policymakers to get involved, since clustering is something that has been happening spontaneously during time. The key question is whether and how policymakers can add value through appropriate measures, beyond the outcomes that markets and market players produce on their own. While there is an extensive literature that focuses on the cluster analysis, the connection between clusters and policy has been mainly ignored. This paper tries to shed light on this issue, highlighting the key features of both the cluster concept and policy. It also aims at contributing to diminish the existing gap between theory and policy comparing two broad models of cluster policy: the Asian and the OECD approach.

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