______________________________________________________________ 9.1 INTRODUCTION In keeping with its title, the purpose of this book is to illuminate cluster policies and the institutional, governance, and firm dynamics that have been unfolding in Europe. As argued in the introductory chapter, its main aim is to address the following paradox: in spite of increasing political, business, and research interests on cluster-related policies and institutional frameworks that can allegedly enhance the performance of cluster firms, there is still very limited scientific understanding about the role of policies and institutional dynamics in clusters. Redressing this shortfall of scientific understanding is of paramount importance, especially given the ever-increasing pressures on cluster firms due to regional integration and globalisation tendencies. In Europe this has been felt even more strongly due to the recent Eastern enlargement. The accession of ten new members in conjunction with the aforementioned tendencies has unleashed economic and institutional dynamics with significant impacts on both old and new EU members. The above aim translates into the main objectives of this study concerning cluster learning dynamics. As introduced in Chapters 1 and 2 these objectives are articulated in terms of two key research questions: a) does cluster MLG exhibit learning dynamics?, and b) does MLG support cluster learning dynamics? In answering these two key research questions, this study implements an original approach combining three analytical foci. Firstly, this study focuses on the multi-level dimensions of cluster policy and governance in the understanding that the local nature of cluster policy and institutional dynamics are largely related to specific...
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