Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

November 2, 2012

# 12.21 Clustering and firm performance in project-based industries: The case of the global video game industry, 1972-2007

Filed under: 2012 — Tags: , , , , , — mattehartog @ 12:10 pm

Mathijs de Vaan, Ron Boschma and Koen Frenken

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Explanations of spatial clustering based on localization externalities are being questioned by recent empirical evidence showing that firms in clusters do not outperform firms outside clusters. We propose that these findings may be driven by the particularities of the industrial settings chosen in these studies. We argue that in project-based industries, negative localization externalities associated with competition grow proportionally with cluster size, while positive localization externalities increase more than proportionally related to cluster size. By studying the survival patterns of 4,607 firms and 1,229 subsidiaries in the global video game industry, we find that the net effect of clustering becomes positive after a cluster reaches a critical size. We further unravel the subtleties of the video game industry by differentiating between exits by failure and exit by acquisition, and conclude that being acquired is best considered as a sign of success rather than as a business failure.

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