DP9667 | Are clusters more resilient in crises? Evidence from French exporters in 2008-2009

Publication Date

29/09/2013

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Abstract

Clusters have already been extensively shown to favor firm-level economic performance (productivity, exports, innovation etc.). However, little is known about the capacity of firms in clusters to resist economic shocks. In this paper, we analyze whether firms that agglomerate in clusters and firms that have been selected to benefit from the "competitiveness cluster'' industrial policy, implemented in France in 2005, have performed better on export markets during the recent economic turmoil. We show that, on average, both agglomeration and the cluster policy are associated with a higher survival probability of firms on export markets, and conditioning on survival, a higher growth rate of their exports. However, these effects are not stronger during the 2008-2009 crisis; if anything, the opposite is true. We then show that this weaker resilience of competitiveness cluster firms is probably due to the fact that firms in clusters are more dependent on the fate of the ``leader'', i.e. the largest exporter in the cluster.