Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development

Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development

Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry

Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer

By weaving together the fields of health economics, industrial organisation and industrial development, this book describes the benefits of promoting a country’s health industry as a way of stimulating its high-technology industrial capacity. The authors illustrate that the development of a country’s health industry not only improves the country’s health status, but also promotes an industry with relatively stable, high-wage employment, creates the potential for exporting goods and services, and produces scientific spillovers that will favourably impact other high-technology industries.

Chapter 9: Clustering in the Biotechnology Industry

Stuart O. Schweitzer, Judith Connell and Fredrick P. Schoenberg

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, industrial economics, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics

Extract

Stuart O. Schweitzer, Judith Connell and Fredrick P. Schoenberg INTRODUCTION Understanding the location decisions of firms has been one of the most important issues in industrial policy for centuries. Traditionally the field has considered the location of industrial firms in the manufacturing sector. The propensity of firms to locate near one another has been noted for many years. These earliest clusters typically could be understood in terms of location of natural resources. Steel refineries located near sources of raw materials, such as coal and iron ore, and furniture manufacturers located near sources of lumber. For other industries, access to transportation has been critical. Automobile plants located in port cities, and firms in other industries located near airports or rail or highway junctions. Still other industries sought areas where climate favoured a particular production process, or in areas that were centres of political activity. The ‘new economy’ industries of the latter part of the 20th and the early 21st centuries are knowledge-based, and it would appear that the old justifications for clusters no longer apply (see Schweitzer and Di Tommaso, 2003). With output so high in terms of value per unit of size or weight, transportation costs have largely been eliminated as important considerations. Secondly, the output may not be physical at all, but rather intellectual in nature, so that ‘commerce’ consists more in transfer of digitized information over the internet than it does sending actual physical outputs. With these new industries, how do old predictors of clusters apply...

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