Small Business Economics

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 925–948 | Cite as

Cluster development policy, SME’s performance, and spillovers: evidence from Brazil

  • Lucas Figal Garone
  • Alessandro Maffioli
  • Joao Alberto de Negri
  • Cesar M. RodriguezEmail author
  • Gonzalo Vázquez-Baré


This paper studies the impact of the Brazilian Arranjos Productivos Locais (APL) policy, a cluster development policy, on small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) performance. Using firm-level data on SMEs for the years 2002–2009, this paper combines fixed effects with reweighting methods to estimate both the direct and the indirect causal effects of participating in the APL policy on employment growth, value of total exports, and likelihood of exporting. Our results show that APL policy generates a positive direct impact on the three outcomes of interest. They also show evidence of short-term negative spillovers effects on employment in the first year after the policy implementation and positive spillovers on export outcomes in the medium and long term. Thus, our findings highlight the importance of accounting for the timing and gestation periods of the effects on firm performances when assessing the impact of clusters policies.


Cluster policies SMEs Brazil Impact evaluation Spillovers Panel data Fixed-effects method 

JEL Classifications

C23 D22 H43 L25 L26 O12 O54 R10 



We are grateful to Patrick Franco Alves, Conner Mullaly, and Rodolfo Stucchi for useful discussions and comments on this project. We would also like to thank SEBRAE and two anonymous referees for their suggestions and comments. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank. The usual disclaimer applies. Senior authorship is not assigned.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas Figal Garone
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alessandro Maffioli
    • 1
  • Joao Alberto de Negri
    • 3
  • Cesar M. Rodriguez
    • 4
    Email author
  • Gonzalo Vázquez-Baré
    • 1
  1. 1.Inter-American Development BankWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Universidad de San AndrésVictoriaArgentina
  3. 3.Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica AplicadaRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Department of EconomicsPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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