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Edited by Ron Boschma and Ron Martin
Chapter 9: Emergence of Regional Clusters: The Role of Spinoffs in the Early Growth Process
Michael S. Dahl, Christian R. Østergaard and Bent Dalum 1. Introduction The literature on regional clusters has increased considerably during the last decade. Most of the theories focus on explaining their growth, internal dynamics and structure. The emergence and growth patterns are usually explained by such factors as unique local culture, regional capabilities, tacit knowledge or the existence of location-specific externalities (knowledge spillovers, networks, labour market pooling and specialised suppliers). However, these factors are not sufficient to explain the early formation of clusters, when it grows from one to many firms. The location-specific externalities are non-existing when there is only one company, that is, there are no labour market pooling externalities or knowledge spillovers. Additional firms have to enter the cluster before networks between employees working in various cluster-firms are formed, before knowledge spillovers occur and before firms can benefit from labour market pooling. The dominant theories focus more on explaining ex post dynamics of clusters than their early development. This chapter focuses on the early phase and uses an alternative approach to analyse the role of geography in the formation of clusters. Three key determinants are identified: (1) the geographical dimension of entrepreneurial activity, (2) spinoffs from successful firms and (3) new market opportunities. The chapter studies the evolution of the wireless communications cluster in Northern Denmark and compares it with the evolution of other clusters. Section 2 presents the theoretical framework on the emergence of clusters with discussions of the geographical dimension of entrepreneurial activity, the role of...
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