Chapter 2: Cluster policy in an evolutionary world? Rationales, instruments and policy learning
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The phenomenon of clusters has attracted much interest over recent years, both from academics who seek to understand their workings and policymakers who seek to emulate their apparent success. However, while numerous studies have sought to examine their characteristics, their performance and how they may be supported, particularly in regard of those clusters that occur ‘naturally’, little evidence is available on the nature and the impact of policies that have been implemented with the goal of fostering clusters. Thus, policy learning in this area is sparse. We endeavour to address this evidence gap, by reviewing the evolving rationales underpinning cluster policy and the challenges associated with their implementation and evaluation. The chapter concludes with some general lessons and implications.

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