Clusters and Clustering: Stylized Facts, Issues, and Theories

Orsenigo, Luigi (2006). Clusters and Clustering: Stylized Facts, Issues, and Theories. In: Braunerhjelm, Pontus and Feldman, Maryann P. eds. Cluster Genesis: Technology-Based Industrial Development. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 195–218.



This chapter presents a survey of factors associated with the crafting of new innovative high-technology clusters. The evidence strongly supports the view that there are strong agglomeration forces in high-technology sectors, mainly related to the concentration of scientific knowledge. Adequate incentive structures and entrepreneurial activity are also important, as are spin-offs from highly capable universities and research centres. Thus, the emergence of clusters is not a purely random phenomenon. Initial conditions and ‘endowments’ play a crucial role in defining the geography of innovation. However, these do not suffice to account either for the genesis of clusters, neither for the failures. The literature forcefully points to the observation that processes are the essence of what clusters are made of.

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