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Häussler, Carolin and Zademach, Hans-Martin (December 2006): Cluster Performance reconsidered: Structure, Linkages and Paths in the German Biotechnology Industry, 1996-2003. SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 188 [PDF, 109kB]


This paper addresses the evolution of biotechnology clusters in Germany between 1996 and 2003, paying particular attention to their respective composition in terms of venture capital, basic science institutions and biotechnology firms. Drawing upon the significance of co-location of "money and ideas", the literature stressing the importance of a cluster's openness and external linkages, and the path dependency debate, the paper aims to analyse how certain cluster characteristics correspond with its overall performance. After identifying different cluster types, we investigate their internal and external interconnectivity in comparative manner and draw on changes in cluster composition. Our results indicate that the structure, i.e. to which group the cluster belongs, and the openness towards external knowledge flows deliver merely unsystematic indications with regard to a cluster's overall success. Its ability to change composition towards a more balanced ratio of science and capital over time, on the other hand, turns out as a key explanatory factor. Hence, the dynamic perspective proves effective illuminating cluster growth and performance, where our explorative findings provide a promising avenue for further evolutionary research.

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