Handbook of Research on Innovation and Clusters
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Handbook of Research on Innovation and Clusters

Cases and Policies

Edited by Charlie Karlsson

The role of innovations and clusters has increasingly dominated local and regional development policies in recent decades. This authoritative and accessible Handbook considers important aspects of high-tech clusters, analyses insightful cluster case studies, and provides a number of recommendations for cluster policies.
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Chapter 15: Leipzig’s Media Cluster

Harald Bathelt and Caroline von Bernuth


Harald Bathelt and Caroline von Bernuth 1 Introduction After the German reunification, the city of Leipzig faced a very difficult economic situation. Many state-run firms were restructured or closed during the course of privatization. Further firms were suddenly exposed to strong competition pressure by firms from West Germany. The results were substantial job losses and out-migration of the labour force (Bontje, 2004). Other industries, in which Leipzig once had a strong tradition, such as book publishing, had already lost their importance by the end of the Second World War and the subsequent division of Germany. This situation required that a new economic structure be developed in Leipzig in the 1990s. As a consequence, the location decisions of branches of the West German automobile producers Porsche and BMW, as well as the establishment of the public broadcasting service MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk) were strongly supported by policy makers (Heidenreich and Miljak, 2005). In the 1990s, a number of new media firms settled around the activities of the MDR. The subsequent evolution of media industries is an example for the genesis of a new cluster. This development is centred on the areas of TV/film production, graphics/design, advertising/public relations and new digital media. Since the emergence of this cluster is not a renewal of media activities that existed in former times, it is not embedded in historical structures and traditional social relations. The evolution of this cluster has attracted substantial attention but also has been oversimplified by public authorities by...

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