Institutions and Clusters

We show that transaction costs and external economies, which change institutional arrangements heavily, influence cluster structures. Two types of clusters, (i) the vertical cluster where a hub dominates suppliers that have settled in the vicinity and, (ii), the horizontal cluster where firms share a common platform – historically a natural resource, today often knowledge and competences. Furthermore, non-cluster firms exist. We show, in a model, how these types emerge from the interaction found in firms and the interaction of firms within a network system. Changing transaction costs and externalities influence clusters and produce cluster dynamics. The sustainability of a cluster depends on its ability to stabilize the basis of its existence. This is easier for horizontal clusters that can steadily develop their knowledge and competence platform than for a vertical cluster which heavily depends on product life cycles. We give some evidence for clusters in East Germany, which presents an interesting example. The Treuhand atomized the giant combines, so that the rearrangements may be interpreted as results of fundamental market forces. Therefore major influences on the emerging institutional structure should stem from transaction costs and externalities.

28. January 2009

Authors Ulrich Blum

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