Markets, Clusters and Innovation
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Chapter 1: Introduction: Aims of the Book
The research on which this book was based aimed to establish the extent to which ﬁrms performed better when co-located within clusters than outside them. The research projects in Austria and the UK also sought to throw comparative light on this issue in economies often thought to represent versions of the two classical European models of industry organization; the ﬁrst, corporatist or ‘coordinated market’, the second ‘liberal market’ after Hall and Soskice’s widely cited classiﬁcation of ‘varieties of capitalism’ (Hall and Soskice, 2001) and, in particular, their associated business systems.1 The precise way in which these issues were tackled involved the use in both countries of an identical set of research instruments and questions inquiring about relative ﬁrm performance in two modern, advanced technology industries, information and communication technology (ICT) and biotechnology. The research questions therefore sought to tease out, for both settings, the extent to which innovative milieux (after Maillat, 1998) or markets were the most performance-enhancing settings for such high-technology businesses. This question had particular salience because of the following. Many continental European economies, from Austria to Germany, Switzerland and the Nordic countries operate a ‘social partnership’ model of economic organization in which interaction occurs by negotiation across boundaries between otherwise divergent interests associated with government, industry and labour. At a lower scale than the national economy, this resonates with the ‘networking propensity’ associated with regional milieux of innovative small ﬁrms as analysed in Maillat’s pioneering work in the Swiss Jura region of watchmakers. Contrariwise, a liberal...