Emerging Clusters
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Emerging Clusters

Theoretical, Empirical and Political Perspectives on the Initial Stage of Cluster Evolution

Edited by Dirk Fornahl, Sebastian Henn and Max-Peter Menzel

This book rigorously explores the critical, initial stage of cluster emergence in which the seeds for further growth are sown. Whether economic growth actually occurs, however, ultimately depends on various regional conditions and the processes in place.
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Chapter 10: Sources of ‘Second Generation Growth’: Spin-off Processes in the Emerging Biochip Industries in Jena and Berlin

Max-Peter Menzel


Max-Peter Menzel 1 INTRODUCTION Clusters are important elements in regional development (Porter 2000; Martin and Sunley 2003; Malmberg and Maskell 2002). Firms in clusters exhibit stronger growth and knowledge between them diffuses faster compared to non-clustered firms (Swann and Prevezer 1996; Audretsch and Feldman 1996; Baptista 2000). Yet, the many failed attempts to copy the features of Silicon Valley to other places led to the insight that the way clusters work has little to do with the way they emerge (Bresnahan et al. 2001; Menzel and Fornahl 2007). There are mainly two insights about cluster emergence that are commonly accepted. The first is that a wave of new firms emerges in many regions at the beginning of an industry life cycle, but these firms will become the source for a cluster only in few regions (Romanelli and Feldman 2006; Klepper 2007b; Boschma and Wenting 2007). Several approaches explain this pattern. The window of locational opportunity (Storper and Walker 1989), the core–periphery model (Krugman 1991) and the stochastic approaches that build on the models of Arthur (1994) explain cluster emergence as a result of ‘trivial historical accidents’ (Krugman 1991; 35) that manifest themselves in firm formations and subsequent agglomeration economies that start to work in the region with the most firms at the beginning.1 In these approaches, the cluster arises where economies of agglomeration start to work at first. But these approaches do not explain the second important insight on cluster emergence, namely that only a particular form of formation...

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