Cluster Policies in Europe

Cluster Policies in Europe

Firms, Institutions, and Governance

Susana Borrás and Dimitrios Tsagdis

This book provides a systematic, comprehensive, and independent comparative study of cluster policies in Europe. It focuses upon one very important relationship that has so far been neglected in the literature, namely, the extent to which the complex dynamics of multi-level governance (MLG) are responding to the problems and challenges faced by clusters, in particular the extent to which MLG learns and supports cluster learning.


Phil Cooke

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, urban and regional studies, clusters


______________________________________________________________ There are numerous books on clusters but this is the first one on cluster policies. Accordingly it is to be enthusiastically welcomed, not least by policy scientists and particularly policy makers. In Europe the latter have been buying into cluster policy since the early experiments in pioneering European regions like the Basque Country and Scotland, then for national sectors (Germany’s BioRegio contest) and more recently by whole national economies (France’s poles de competitivité) and the EU as a whole with DG Enterprise’s new attachment to building clusters. Outside Europe, cluster policies probably began earlier than most places in the USA, well before Michael Porter began advising on them to the aforementioned Basques and Scots. Partly due to the study visits to Europe of consultants like Richard Hatch and Stu Rosenfeld, the Michigan Manufacturing Initiative and Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Partnership began building alternative economic strategies in the face of deindustrialisation and Reaganomics that were influenced by Italian industrial districts and networks. Even earlier, the work of Piore and Sabel in 1984 on the same theme of a modernised artisan and craft mode of production had swiftly attracted many adherents in policy and academe. This made me think of the first occasion I was confronted with the basic ‘cluster’ notion because, during numerous visits made to the US in the 1980s, the idea if not the terminology was ‘in the air’. In 1980, I made my first conference visit to New York, hosted by Rob Burlage, one of the founders of the...