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Clustering is one of the key drivers for regional economic growth. Development of technology clusters is a dynamic process, which is influenced by a variety of internal and external factors. Availability of skilled labor, presence of functioning networks and partnerships, and evolution of the industry are among the key factors. According to Ann Markusen, technology clusters can be distinguished from one another based on their fundamental typology: the Marshallian form, Hub-and-Spoke form, Satellite form, and State-centered form. However, the effect of cluster typology on the development of cluster has not been studied. In this paper, we investigate 15 metropolitan-based technology clusters in the United States, covering communications equipment manufacturing, information technology, and biopharmaceutical sectors. By examining the composition of these high-tech clusters, we observe: 1) how these technology structures have changed their typology over time; 2) differences in cluster typology among different industries. Our analysis results suggest that the map of cluster typology varies significantly for different industries. In addition, our analysis results suggest that the long-term sustainability of a cluster is largely determined by the prosperity of small-and-medium firms within the cluster.
Date of Conference: 2-6 Aug. 2009