From industrial districts to knowledge clusters: A model of knowledge dissemination and competitive advantage in industrial agglomerations

Steven Pinch, Nick Henry, Mark Jenkins, Steven Tallman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    203 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper integrates knowledge-based theories of the firm with geograph-ical studies of industrial agglomeration to produce a model that helps explain the competitive advantages enjoyed by proximate firms located in geographical clusters. We propose a hierarchy of specialized knowledge stocks at both firm and cluster levels and suggest that the comparative advantage conferred by knowledge resources at each level is protected, in part, by asymmetries in knowledge flows from level to level. The paper argues that codified component knowledge is more easily spread than firm-specific architectural knowledge. Nevertheless, over time, agglomerations may develop a cluster-specific form of architectural knowledge that facilitates the rapid dissemination of knowledge throughout the cluster by increasing the learning capacity of proximate firms and thereby conferring cluster-specific competitive advantages.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)373-388
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Economic Geography
    Volume3
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003

    Keywords

    • Knowledge-based theory of the firm
    • Knowledge clusters
    • Competitive advantage

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