Competitive Regional Clusters

National Policy Approaches

image of Competitive Regional Clusters

In today’s globalising world, the regional specialisations built up over decades are transforming rapidly. Many regions that were historically production centres in a given sector are losing out to lower-cost locations and reorienting to higher value-added niches.  National programmes to promote cluster-based approaches -- linking firms, people and knowledge at a regional level -- are being used to meet the challenge. This report analyses the objectives, targeting, instruments and inter-governmental role sharing used by 26 programmes in 14 OECD countries. It will be of interest to policy makers, researchers, firms and others active in promoting innovation and competitiveness.

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Executive Summary

While the cluster concept is not new and remains subject to debate, national programmes based on a cluster model continue to be prominent and are adapted to an increasingly wide variety of contexts. The goal of the report is not to revisit a theoretical debate regarding definitions but rather to understand why, in practice, there is renewed policy interest in supporting clusters. Programmes use a range of cluster-type definitions and approaches but start from common assumptions about the value of the agglomeration of firms and the importance of linking people, skills and knowledge at a regional level.

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