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Knowledge Flows in National Systems of Innovation

A Comparative Analysis of Sociotechnical Constituencies in Europe and Latin America

Edited by Roberto López-Martínez and Andrea Piccaluga

The search for the key to economic growth has proved elusive and contentious. This book uses new empirical evidence to propose an integrated approach for achieving strong industrial and technological capabilities to form the basis for regional and national economic development.
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Chapter 9: Industrial policy of providing support to clusters: the case of the Basque Country

Pere Escorsa and Jaime Alberto Camacho


Pere Escorsa and Jaime Alberto Camacho 9.1 INTRODUCTION Michael Porter, in his well-known book published in 1990, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, popularized the concept of cluster, although he never defined it precisely. If we are to be competitive, said Porter, we must concentrate on specific industries and industry segments. He did, however, provide a description of the features which characterize clusters: their relations with clients and suppliers, their technology, their distribution channels, and so on. On the basis of these guidelines, the Basque government defined clusters as ‘sets of related industries and entities which make up a system of vertical relationships (buyers, sellers) and horizontal relationships (clients, technology, foreign trade, common channels), which mutually support each other and which represent, on an industrial level, a competitive advantage for a country’ (Gobierno Vasco 1994). It is clear that these clusters were in existence well before Porter described and named them as such. In Italy, the industrial districts, which Porter had no hesitation in including among his examples of clusters, had been the objects of ample study since the late 1970s. The wool district (Prato), the clothing district (Carpi) and the ceramic district (Sassuolo) were all profusely described in writings on regional industrial development. Of course, Spanish industry is no exception in this respect. For many years now, there have been important groups or clusters in Spain: the ceramic industry in the province of Castellón in the Valencia region, the second biggest largest producer of pottery in...

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