The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 553–578 | Cite as

Innovation networks and cluster dynamics

  • Benoît DesmarchelierEmail author
  • Linjia Zhang
Special Issue Paper


Contributions in terms of clusters life cycle indicate that intense interactions between a variety of agents within a cluster are essential to its success. Despite being accepted by the literature, to our knowledge, this view has not yet been confirmed by analyses of large temporal networks of interactions within industrial clusters. The paper proposes to fill this gap and to show that network analysis can explain clusters success, failure, and transition from one phase of the life cycle to another. In this perspective, we build and study the innovation networks of three clusters over a 10-year period. We find that clusters’ growth is all but smooth and that low assortativity and preferential attachment among agents can constitute safeguards against clusters decline. These observations support contributions advocating for non-deterministic life cycles in which clusters can still grow, even after a period of pronounced decline.

JEL Classification

R0 O3 



This work benefited from the support of the National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 14BJY108). Also, we thank the two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of LilleLilleFrance
  2. 2.Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool UniversitySuzhouChina

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