Clusters and strategy in regional economic development

Edward Feser

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Many economic development practitioners view cluster theory and analysis as constituting a general approach to strategy making in economic development, which may lead them to prioritize policy and planning interventions that cannot address the actual development challenges in their cities and regions. This paper discusses the distinction between strategy formation and strategic planning, where the latter is the programming of development strategies that are identified through a blend of experience, intuition, and analysis. Cluster theories and analytical tools can provide useful informational inputs into a strategy making effort and they can also be helpful for programming specific interventions (i.e., strategic planning). However, they should not be used as the exclusive or even predominant framework for filtering information about the competitive advantages of a region or for formulating strategy. To do so forces strategy making into a conceptual box defined by only one highly stylized theory of regional growth and development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
JournalIndustry Cluster
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Economic development strategy, industry clusters, strategic planning, public policy, industry cluster analysis, industry cluster theory


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