Abstract

In this article, we make two important contributions to the literature on clusters. First, we provide a broader theory of cluster connectivity that has hitherto focused on organization-based pipelines and MNE subsidiaries, by including linkages in the form of personal relationships. Second, we use the lens of social network theory to derive a number of testable propositions. We propose that global linkages with decentralized network structures have the highest potential for local spillovers. In the emerging economy context, our theory implies that clusters linked to the global economy by decentralized pipelines have potential for in-depth catch-up, focused in industry and technology scope. In contrast, clusters linked through decentralized personal relationships have potential for in-breadth catch-up over a range of related industries and technologies. We illustrate our theoretical propositions by contrasting two emerging economy case studies: Bollywood, the Indian filmed entertainment cluster in Mumbai and the Indian software cluster in Bangalore.

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