Handbook of Innovation Policy Impact

Handbook of Innovation Policy Impact

Eu-SPRI Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy series

Edited by Jakob Edler, Paul Cunningham, Abdullah Gök and Philip Shapira

Innovation underpins competitiveness, is crucial to addressing societal challenges, and its support has become a major public policy goal. But what really works in innovation policy, and why? This Handbook, compiled by leading experts in the field, is the first comprehensive guide to understanding the logic and effects of innovation polices. The Handbook develops a conceptualisation and typology of innovation policies, presents meta-evaluations for 16 key innovation policy instruments and analyses evidence on policy-mix. For each policy instrument, underlying rationales and examples are presented, along with a critical analysis of the available impact evidence. Providing access to primary sources of impact analysis, the book offers an insightful assessment of innovation policy practice and its evaluation.

Chapter 7: The impact of cluster policy on innovation

Elvira Uyarra and Ronnie Ramlogan

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy, organisational innovation


In recent years clusters have become an important component of the policy maker’s toolbox, particularly in respect of endogenous pressures for growth and innovation. Academic and policy interest in clusters has emerged from the observation that many industries tend to cluster and the ex post analyses of the economic and innovation performance of a number of high-profile clusters. However, despite the popularity of the cluster concept and the widespread use of cluster policy, the question of whether public support of clusters is effective, particularly for innovation, is an open one. This chapter seeks to address this evidence gap. It first examines the main arguments underpinning cluster policy. It subsequently focuses on a number of recent experiences in supporting clusters across the OECD, and further highlights the challenges associated with the evaluation of these initiatives and available evidence on their outcomes. It then reviews the impact of a number of programmes that are selected for closer scrutiny. The chapter draws on available cluster policy evaluation exercises and related academic literature to report on the impacts and outcomes, both soft and substantive, of cluster policy. Finally, some broad implications for policy are drawn, in particular in relation to the need for policies to improve their clarity and focus in their choice of objectives and rationales, the need to allow for evaluation early on in the process, and the use of flexible and adapted interventions that are realistic rather than a rigid cluster model, together with a more careful targeting and a better balance between a hands-off approach and direct steering of clusters.

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