Clusters, Convergence, and Economic Performance

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National Bureau of Economic Resarch Working Paper

This paper evaluates the role of regional cluster composition in the economic performance of industries, clusters and regions. On the one hand, diminishing returns to specialization in a location can result in a convergence effect: the growth rate of an industry within a region may be declining in the level of activity of that industry. At the same time, positive spillovers across complementary economic activities provide an impetus for agglomeration: the growth rate of an industry within a region may be increasing in the size and “strength” (i.e., relative presence) of related economic sectors. Building on Porter (1998, 2003), we develop a systematic empirical framework to identify the role of regional clusters – groups of closely related and complementary industries operating within a particular region – in regional economic performance. ... <Read more>

NBER Working Paper No. 18250
Issued in July 2012