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Employment growth of small high-technology firms and the role of horizontal clusters: evidence from computing services and R and D in Great Britain 1991-2000

Fingleton, B. and Igliori, D.C. and Moore, B.R. (2004) Employment growth of small high-technology firms and the role of horizontal clusters: evidence from computing services and R and D in Great Britain 1991-2000. Urban Studies, 41 (4). pp. 773-799. ISSN 0042-0980

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Abstract

This paper provides new evidence that, controlling for other effects, the growth of employment in high-technology SMEs depends on the initial horizontal clustering. The paper focuses on employment change over the period 1991-2000 in computing services and research and development (R&D) industries analysed at the local and county level within Great Britain. A new measure is proposed to map clustering in each sector. In the main section of the paper, spatial econometric models are estimated controlling for supply- and demand-side conditions, human capital, the local economic environment and spatial externalities in order to isolate the effect of initial clustering level. The estimates support the hypothesis that clustering is a cause of employment growth, although there are important differences of geographical scale at which this effect operates for the two sectors considered. The paper raises some important issues regarding the implied dynamics associated with the evolution of clustering.