The Evolution and Structure of Industrial Clusters in Japan

The Evolution and Structure of Industrial Clusters in Japan This paper focuses on two aspects of the evolution and structure of clusters in Japan, namely, what gives rise to clusters and what benefits are acquired by small firms from participating in clusters. The determinants of clustering are discussed by way of a review of the history of 14 industrial clusters which cover a wide range of industries and locations in Japan. It is noted that different factors dominate in different cases. Among the more important ones are the existence of leading large firms, the availability of a pooled labor market, and the presence of public research and testing facilities. The four most important benefits from clusters reported by small firms are : (i) specialization; (ii) ease of procurement; (iii) diffusion of technology, and (iv) public policy support. Access to skilled workers is not reported to be a significant benefit. This may be explained by the fact that the dominant source of skills acquisition among Japanese workers is on-the-job training and such skills may be too firm-specific to be useful to others, even within a geographically concentrated cluster. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Small Business Economics Springer Journals

The Evolution and Structure of Industrial Clusters in Japan

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Business and Management; Management; Microeconomics; Entrepreneurship; Industrial Organization
ISSN
0921-898X
eISSN
1573-0913
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1015134028335
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper focuses on two aspects of the evolution and structure of clusters in Japan, namely, what gives rise to clusters and what benefits are acquired by small firms from participating in clusters. The determinants of clustering are discussed by way of a review of the history of 14 industrial clusters which cover a wide range of industries and locations in Japan. It is noted that different factors dominate in different cases. Among the more important ones are the existence of leading large firms, the availability of a pooled labor market, and the presence of public research and testing facilities. The four most important benefits from clusters reported by small firms are : (i) specialization; (ii) ease of procurement; (iii) diffusion of technology, and (iv) public policy support. Access to skilled workers is not reported to be a significant benefit. This may be explained by the fact that the dominant source of skills acquisition among Japanese workers is on-the-job training and such skills may be too firm-specific to be useful to others, even within a geographically concentrated cluster.

Journal

Small Business EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 13, 2004

References

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