Chapter 10: Are policies supporting cluster development? A comparative firmlevel analysis
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Cluster policies are considered increasingly important for supporting the development of clusters. However, not all clusters have the same preconditions and needs for policy initiatives to stimulate their performance and development. In this chapter it is argued that the role of cluster policies differs between sectors and regions depending on particular framework conditions and development factors that might also change over time. On the firm-level, the role of cluster policies seems to be even more diverse since particular firm needs and problems vary according to the companies’ main activities, age and size. Concepts on cluster policy and cluster life cycles have disregarded such a differentiated role of cluster policies and its effects on cluster firms so far. We investigate the environmental technology cluster in Upper Austria and the new media cluster in Vienna from this perspective. Both clusters differ with regard to the role of cluster policies. While in the former policy has a stronger role and policy actors have tried to actively support funding and network initiatives, the latter seemed to be less dependent on policy activities and more shaped by related industry developments.

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