Martina Fromhold-Eisebith, Günter Eisebith
October 21, 2015
Cluster promotion on the test bed. A critical analysis. Efforts to encourage the development of industrial clusters have proliferated all over the world, despite of growing criticism especially by academic scholars with regard to inconsistencies of the cluster concept that affect its practical applicability. This article further substantiates the critical view by pointing out in systematic ways how all elements of the entire “value chain of cluster promotion”, which comprises five components from conceptual foundations to proactive clustering support, provide targets that impair prospects of substantial effectiveness. In addition to reviewing the scientific debate that has mainly focused on conceptual weaknesses, we present findings of our own empirical work on two selected automotive cluster initatives (in Austria and Germany) that reveal that net effects induced by cluster promotion are rather small. Conclusions relate to implications for regional economic promotion.