Small business clustering across disciplines
The literature on clusters is vast and growing rapidly. Moreover, it is truly multidisciplinary with researchers from all perspectives borrowing heavily from each other’s works. This chapter summarizes the theoretical approaches that have defined the concepts and relationships used in the applied cluster analyses that follow. The perceived benefits from participating in clusters are now well established at a theoretical level. It is argued that this theoretical basis was developed within regional economics by using the concepts of agglomeration economies, which originated with Marshall (1890); industrial input-output analysis, since developed by Porter (1990), and social networks based on the works of Williamson (1985) and Saxenian (1994). As technological change has become more important, ideas related to regional innovation systems also have been incorporated into cluster analysis. Now the challenge is to put these ideas into practice.
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