Regional Cooperation of Small & Medium Firms in Japanese Industrial Clusters

Discussion Papers


by ARITA Tomokazu, FUJITA Masahisa and KAMEYAMA Yoshihiro

December 2004


This study examines the effects of intra-regional cooperation among firms and institutions on the growth of firms, using the unique data set of questionnaire survey collected in the three major industrial clusters in Japan. In contrast to the existing studies on regional innovations or agglomeration economies, this study explicitly focuses on the detailed contents of cooperative activities with two specific viewpoints: 1) the contents of regional cooperation in each of the three production stages of R&D, commercialization, and marketing, and 2) the detailed types of alliance partners. Our results demonstrate three points: 1) positive correlations are observed between the intensity of regional cooperation and the firm growth rate and R&D expenditure, 2) horizontal cooperation such as alliances with universities and cross-industry exchange organizations has positive significant effects on the growth rate of firms, which is in contrast with the previous studies that stressed only the role of vertically integrated inter-firm linkages in Japan, and 3) contents and partners of regional cooperation are different among the three clusters based on different dominant industries.

Keywords: Industrial clusters, industrial agglomeration, knowledge externalities, Japan
JEL Classification: O18, O53, R3

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