Industrial districts, clusters and the geography of innovation

Session organizers:

Jose-Luis Hervas-Oliver (jose.hervas@omp.upv.es), Rafel Boix (rafael.boix@uv.es), Silvia Sedita (silvia.sedita@unipd.it)


Geography still matters, and the specific structure of local production systems stimulates diverse patterns of economic development of regions. In the literature, a variety of approaches is emerging, which differently combine specific features of geographical agglomerations of production.
On the one side, there is the economic geography and regional studies research field, which is recently debating on the relatedness of the industrial activities and its impact on the economic development and innovation of regions. On the other side, there is the management research and international business field, which is focused on the combination of resources and the recombinant capabilities of firms, and how they benefit from geographical co-location or insertion in global value chains. Concepts and approaches are progressively assuming new nuances and often they overlap giving rise to boundary less and chaotic concepts. We therefore wish to understand how concepts are moving and how the most recent empirical evidence, either qualitative or quantitative, help shaping new theoretical and analytical frameworks.

Industrial districts, clusters and the geography of innovation special session is defined as a multidiscipline-based forum (management, innovation studies, geography of innovation, regional studies, etc.) for discussing ideas on local production systems, with special emphasis on those socio-economic local production systems such as Industrial Districts, but not limited to the latter. Our objective is to embrace scholar community into debate about how local firms gain advantages from the local space, how innovation occurs, how clusters evolve and what are the new forms of districts, among many others. We stimulate the study of phenomena from different lenses and angles, combining both micro and meso unit of analysis. Suggested topics that would be interesting to address may include, but not be limited to theoretical discussion on the evolutionary trajectories of the concepts of clusters and industrial districts and empirical contributions on the geography of innovation, including research works on different levels of analysis: the firm, the local production system, the region.