The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 139–169 | Cite as

Strengthening relationships in clusters: How effective is an indirect policy measure carried out in a peripheral technology district?

  • Giuseppe CalignanoEmail author
  • Rune Dahl Fitjar
Original Paper


Studies of the effects of specific policy measures for innovation have focused mainly on actions based on direct R&D support. However, the innovation studies literature sees innovation as an interactive process, emphasising the role of knowledge exchange for successful innovation. Furthermore, it is increasingly accepted that co-location is not sufficient for knowledge exchange to occur. Consequently, there is also a need to assess the effectiveness of policy measures to promote knowledge exchange between co-located actors. The objective of this paper is to narrow this gap by exploring the outcome of an indirect policy in stimulating coordination and networking. The paper analyses policies for increased networking in a mechatronics district located in the peripheral and less innovative region Apulia (Southern Italy). The success of the coordination and networking action is examined by adopting a longitudinal approach. In order to assess the association of the policy with the overall network structure, social network analysis is used to analyse the data. We compare characteristics of the network in the early and later phase of the district across five dimensions of knowledge exchange, identifying a large increase in the use of partnerships as the main effect of the policy.

JEL Classification

O3 R1 R10 R12 



The authors thank Elisa Giuliani and Pierre-Alexandre Balland for their insightful comments on an earlier version of this paper. Thanks to Patrizia Scarcella for suggesting relevant literature on the use of retrospective data. The authors are grateful to the editor, Martin Andersson, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UiS Business School, Centre for Innovation ResearchUniversity of StavangerStavangerNorway

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