Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis
Chapter 53: The Industrial District Model in the Development Strategy of International Organizations: The Example of UNIDO
Giovanna Ceglie and Anna Stancher* 1. Introduction The cluster concept has gained increasing prominence on the agenda of international development organizations over the last decade. Starting in the 1980s, analysis of successful clusters in industrialized countries provided evidence that agglomerations of collaborative firms could turn into drivers of economic growth and become hubs of innovation. More recently, a body of research1 has shown that clusters are a widespread phenomenon also in developing economies and can display levels of dynamisms and innovation similar to those registered in developed countries. The high-tech industry of Bangalore, India, the Chilean wine clusters and the Sialkot surgical instruments clusters, Pakistan, are but a handful of many successful cases. These dynamic clusters have achieved high levels of growth, gained a stable foothold in the international market and generated wealth and prosperity at the local level. Yet, this is only one part of the story. A considerable number of clusters in developing countries are lagging behind and are trapped in a vicious circle of cutthroat competition, which contributes to local stagnation and poverty. Although they represent substantial pockets of entrepreneurial activities and provide means of living to numbers of workers, they are unable to break out of poverty and refocus their local communities on innovation and growth. An approach to cluster development that tackles the root causes of their underperformance, identifies opportunities for growth and fosters joint action, can become a powerful policy instrument for helping these clusters out of the poverty circle and bringing about local...
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