The Impact Evaluation of Cluster Development Programs: Methods and Practices

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May 2016
Maffioli, Alessandro;Stucchi, Rodolfo;Pietrobelli, Carlo
Do cluster development programs work? Do they fundamentally encourage the essential inter-firm linkages and coordination? Do they lead to innovation and productivity, enterprise development, larger employment, and export growth, and if so, after how long? Do other firms benefit from these programs? This book offers insight into quantitative methods that help answer these questions. Cluster development is a form of modern industrial policy that is spreading across the world to help exploit the externalities emerging from geographical agglomeration and inter-firm coordination. Therefore, rigorous impact evaluations are necessary because they help policymakers understand better ways to design future programs and provide accountability for public resources. The chapters argue that enterprise clusters and the programs to support them are diverse and multidimensional processes that require a variety of instruments to be fully understood and assessed. The book as a whole gathers various methodological essays and quantitative tests of complementary tools and approaches, emphasizing their usefulness and effectiveness in coordination with one another. Most importantly, it asserts that policy evaluation is crucial, in particular when it comes to cluster development programs, to ensure the best use of public resources, the accountability of beneficiaries, and most of all to feed the necessary learning to improve the design and implementation of public policies for enterprise development.