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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This case study explores several different approaches in Italy that have a cluster orientation, with a focus on two in particular. One unique approach in OECD countries is the integration of the cluster concept into public service delivery. Law 317 (91), and its subsequent revisions to improve flexibility in its application, established a framework for regional governments to support consortia of small firms. Technological Districts have been created in the context of science and technology policy to improve collaboration for the funding, research and application of results in fields with strong commercial interest and social value. EU structural funds were used for southern Italy districts.

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