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Co-evolution of firms, industries and networks in space

By A.L.J. ter Wal and R.A. Boschma


The cluster literature suffers from a number of shortcomings: (1) by and large, cluster studies do not\ud take into account that firms in a cluster are heterogeneous in terms of capabilities; (2) cluster studies\ud tend to overemphasize the importance of place and geographical proximity and underestimate the role\ud of networks which are, by definition, a-spatial entities; (3) most, if not all cluster studies have a static\ud nature, and do not address questions like the origins and evolution of clusters. Our aim is to overcome\ud these shortcomings and propose a theoretical framework on the evolution of clusters. Bringing\ud together bodies of literature on clusters, industrial dynamics, the evolutionary theory of the firm and\ud network theory, we describe how clusters co-evolve with: (1) the industry they adhere to; (2) the\ud (dynamic) capabilities of the firms they contain; and (3) the industry-wide knowledge network they are\ud part of. Based on this framework, we believe the analysis of cluster evolution provides a promising\ud research agenda in evolutionary economic geography for the years to come

Topics: Sociale Geografie & Planologie, cluster evolution, network dynamics, industrial dynamics, co-evolution, evolutionary economic geography
Year: 2007
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