Local Enterprises in the Global Economy
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Local Enterprises in the Global Economy

Issues of Governance and Upgrading

Edited by Hubert Schmitz

This book opens a fresh chapter in the debate on local enterprise clusters and their strategies for upgrading in the global economy. The authors employ a novel conceptual framework in their research on industrial clusters in Europe, Latin America and Asia and provide new perspectives and insights for researchers and policymakers alike.
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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 Seibel


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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