Industrial Districts/Clusters and Smart Specialisation Policies

  • Fiorenza BelussiEmail author
  • Michaela Trippl
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


Industrial districts and clusters are of utmost importance for economic growth and innovation in the European Union (EU). In this chapter, we analyse how smart specialisation policies have worked in different region types, combining cluster policies with smart specialisation ideas. Our study selects a sample of EU regions that differs strongly in terms of geography, size, socioeconomic dynamics, innovation capacities, and governance settings. Two key components of the strategy development phase deserved particular attention, that is, stakeholder inclusion and policy prioritisation. The cases selected are grouped into three main region types: advanced, intermediate, and less-developed regions. The empirical results suggest that advanced regions are in the best position to develop inclusive governance forms and to benefit from smart specialisation strategies. Intermediate regions also perform quite well with respect to the development of smart specialisation strategies, coping with stakeholder involvement, planning capabilities, and the capacity to prioritise a set of clusters and sectors. In contrast, in less-developed regions, weak innovation systems, insufficient experience with regionalised innovation policies, and high levels of state centralisation have undermined smart specialisation processes.


Cluster industrial policies Path dependent growth New path creation Smart policies Industrial districts Clusters 



Professor Dr. Fiorenza Belussi and Michaela Trippl have received financial support from an EU research project funded under the FP7 grant number 320131, SMARTSPEC.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Padua UniversityPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Vienna UniversityWienAustria

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