Quotation Maier, Gunther, Trippl, Michaela. 2011. The Pitfalls and Booby Traps of Cluster Policy. North American Regional Science Conference, Miami, Vereinigte Staaten/USA, 09.11.-12.11..




Over the past two decades, cluster policies have become a standard instrument of public authorities and economic development practitioners in many parts of the world. This paper takes a critical stance on this phenomenon and provides theoretical arguments that challenge the widespread application of cluster initiatives to promote long-term regional development. We distinguish between and compare two main bodies of thought: the neoclassical view and the agglomeration view. We show that there are no rationales for cluster policy from the perspective of neoclassical theory. The agglomeration view, in contrast, provides a convincing conceptual basis for justifying economic policies implemented in form of cluster initiatives. At the same time, however, it points to major problems related with the cluster policy approach. We identify and elaborate on three essential difficulties, i.e. the proper (1) targeting, (2) dosing, and (3) timing of cluster policy actions. We highlight that the problems related with these fundamental issues of each public initiative constitute powerful pitfalls and booby traps of cluster policies.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title The Pitfalls and Booby Traps of Cluster Policy
Event North American Regional Science Conference
Year 2011
Date 09.11.-12.11.
Country United States/USA
Location Miami


Maier, Gunther (Details)
Trippl, Michaela (Former researcher)
Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development IN (Details)
Research Institute for Spatial and Real Estate Economics FI (Details)
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