Issues of Governance and Upgrading
Edited by Hubert Schmitz
Chapter 7: Upgrading in the tile industry of Italy, Spain and Brazil: insights from cluster and value chain analysis
Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Claudio Maggi and Silene Seibel1 1. INTRODUCTION The chapters in this book investigate the relationship between clusters and value chains, and in particular the eﬀect that the integration of clustered ﬁrms into value chains has on collective upgrading eﬀorts inside clusters. This focus was chosen because we observed that earlier research on clusters, including our own, did not systematically explore the external connections, and because we observed that value chain researchers did not systematically analyse options for local action within clusters. This chapter addresses these issues in the context of a case study on the wall and ﬂoor tile industry. We chose this industry for three reasons. First, it is a strongly clustered industry. A large part of world production originates from just two clusters – Sassuolo in Italy and Castellón in Spain, and these two clusters dominate the technological evolution of the industry. Second, it is a highly internationalized industry. The two clusters have a very strong export performance, both in terms of ﬁnal products, and capital goods and key inputs. Third, there are emerging clusters in advanced developing countries, and the technologically dominant position of developed country clusters does not seem to translate into an ability to stem the upcoming competitors. Addressing the tile industry exclusively from either the cluster or the value chain perspective would provide relevant data, but in the end it would neglect crucial features and thus not lead to an adequate understanding of its evolution and upgrading perspectives. A...
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