A new look into the evolution of clusters literature. A bibliometric exercise
Sara C. Santos Cruz
Aurora A.C. Teixeira
In the contemporary globalising knowledge-based economies, local clusters have become crucial elements of regional development, assuming a significant role in both academic and political fields. Although there is an intuitive awareness about the raising importance of the theoretical debate on clusters, there is a substantial lack of empirical support of its precise magnitude and evolution. Moreover, the majority of literature surveys on clusters are exclusively qualitative-based. Aiming at filling this gap, the main purpose of this paper is to provide a quantitative survey of the cluster literature, using bibliometric techniques based on articles. Based on a throughout analysis of all abstracts of articles on clusters published in journals indexed on the Econlit and EBSCO databases, covering the period 1962-2007, our research show that besides their importance in academic fields, the role of clusters has also been widely acknowledged in political spheres. In parallel with the increasing interest in the ‘local’, there has been, as well, an emergent body of literature on global networks and clusters. Moreover, on the basis of the recent boom on clusters literature stands the emergent themes of ‘local networks and social approaches’ and ‘knowledge-based theories’. Literature associated to ‘regional and national innovation systems’ and to ‘institutional approaches’ (local enrooted cultures, governance and customs) has been object of a particular dynamism since the 1990s. Despite the evidence of a clear positive correlation between journals ‘quality’ and formal related research, the evolution of the literature on clusters continues to be mostly appreciative led.
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