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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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Why Are Cluster Policies Popular, Again?

This chapter discusses four main issues related to the concept of clusters. First, the chapter reviews the variation in definitions of clusters and related concepts. It highlights the theoretical benefits to the clustering of firms and related actors as well as the risks associated with policies to support clusters. It then explores the role of clusters in the context of globalisation, as the changing nature of value chains has an impact on the way clusters and regional economies evolve. Finally, the chapter addresses the challenges of moving from the theory behind clusters to the role that policy can play.

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