Global Value Chain

Clusters facing competition: the role of external linkages

Clusters facing competition: the role of external linkages

Published by Ashgate

Edited with Elisa Giuliani and Meine Pieter van Dijk

The book is a collection of papers on clusters in developing countries. The book explores the external sources of industrial cluster competitiveness and examines how they complement, integrate and substitute local, intra-cluster networks. The novelty of this book is to merge the cluster approach with two other conceptual approaches which have become increasingly popular in cluster and development studies: on the one hand, the Global Value Chains and their role in cluster upgrading processes; on the other, the National Systems of Innovation (NSIs) and their role in supporting the development of clusters in a national territory. The book explores these issues with empirical evidence from different countries in Latin America, Asia and the industrialized world.

«This book provides numerous and timely insights into new strategies for enhancing the competitiveness of firms and local clusters in the global economy. Replete with in-depth case studies across a broad range of industries and countries, this volume is must reading for anyone seeking to identify pragmatic as well as effective responses to the challenges of international competition today.»
Gary Gereffi,
Professor, Duke University, Durham, NC / USA

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Distretti industriali e globalizzazione: upgrading e downgrading nella Riviera del Brenta

Economia e Politica Industriale

This paper is concerned with the impact of globalisation on local competitiveness in Brenta, one of the most important Italian footwear districts. The aim is to integrate the typical industrial district approach with the global value chain approach. To understand the changes confronting Brenta, the paper distinguishes between enterprises operating in a) the top brand chain, dominated by the owners of global brands in the luxury market, and b) the high quality chain in which German buying groups aggregate many independent footwear stores. The questions addressed are: Is globalisation pushing Brenta towards new value chains? What types of governance characterise the relationships between local and outside actors? Do the chains’ leaders come from inside or outside the districts? Does the integration of industrial clusters in global value chains enhance or weaken local upgrading strategies? One of the main findings is the increasing importance of the top brand value chain in the district. To be part of the chain, Brenta’s shoe producers accept a functional downgrading, abandoning design and marketing and focusing on production. Nonetheless, the remarkable recent growth rates in the luxury industry, which is built around global top brands, have allowed local producers in this chain to perform better that those in other chains.