• Christian Ketels


2022, Paper: "A seemingly accelerating stream of shocks from the great recession of 2008/2009 to the COVID-19 pandemic has raised urgent questions about the factors that drive the resilience of urban and regional economies, and about policies that can strengthen locations’ ability to deal with shocks. This special issue focuses on the roles of clusters, sectoral composition, and economic complexity in this context.  The academic research as well as the practical and political experience with clusters and cluster-based economic policies over the last three decades has identified the potential for countervailing forces: On the one hand, there is evidence that firms and re- search organisations can gain from being located in a cluster by benefitting from positive externalities and interdependencies through labour mobility, informal networks, buyer-supplier relationships or R&D cooperation. The specifics of sectoral composition, in particular the level of ’complexity’ play a significant role for various measures of economic outcomes. And there are indications that cluster-based policy approaches can enhance economic policy choices and economic outcomes. On the other hand, there is also evidence that closely-knit relationships can suffer from structural or cognitive lock-in. Patterns of sectoral composition that are supporting higher levels of productivity and innovation might not by best suited to also enhance resilience. And cluster-based policies can become captured by entrenched interests and lead to wasteful and distortive market interventions."

Non-HKS Harvard Author Website - Christian Ketels