Cases and Policies
Handbooks of Research on Clusters series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson
Chapter 5: Employment Growth in ICT Clusters: New Evidence from Great Britain
Bernard Fingleton, Danilo Igliori and Barry Moore 1 Introduction The recent advances in information and computing technologies in conjunction with the general reduction in transport costs have produced signiﬁcant impacts on the spatial structure of economic activities. At the same time, institutional and political developments towards the formation of trade and economic areas have transformed the competitive spectrum of cities, regions and countries. Together these facts have raised a number of questions with respect to the dynamics of employment, productivity and competitiveness of local economies. A particularly interesting issue has to do with the relationships between the new economic environments and the resulting combinations of internal and external increasing returns to scale shaping simultaneously the spatial and size distributions of ﬁrms across diﬀerent industries. The growing economic importance of high-technology activities such as Biotechnology, Telecommunications, Electronics and Computing Services has motivated the British government to declare that knowledge is the most important driver sustaining competitive advantages and promoting economic growth (Department of Trade and Industry – DTI, ‘Our competitive future: building the knowledge-driven economy’, 1998). At the same time, it is currently recognized that many of these activities are geographically concentrated, forming the so-called ‘high-technology clusters’. It is also agreed that in the last two decades small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been responsible for a large portion of the employment generation in many countries and policy support for them has been frequently claimed. The interface of these topics is clariﬁed when one notices that some high-technology clusters...
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