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浙江省外贸依存度及风险研究

更新时间:2010-1-30:  来源:毕业论文

浙江省典型产业聚集下的外贸依存度及风险研究英文文献
CLUSTERING, NETWORKING AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Author: John Humphrey & Hubert Schmitz
Nationality:U.K.
Derivation: Principles for promoting clusters & networks of SMEs, Commissioned by the Small and Medium Enterprises Branch October 1995
Industrial districts in Europe appear to have secured competitive advantage in the supply to demand niche markets. They have done this by competing mainly on the basis of quality, design, speed of innovation and speed of response. This might seem far removed from, for example, the cotton knitwear cluster of Tiruppur in South India. This cluster has achieved great success in exporting basic cotton textiles, but as yet it shows little capacity to move into higher value market niches (Swaminathan and Jeyaranjan 1994). An enormous gulf remains between the small knitwear firms of Tiruppur and the ‘ networks of technologically sophisticated, highly flexible manufacturing firms ’ which Piore and Sabel (1984: 17) characterize as the basis of the Italian success. However, it will be argued here that these differing cases do have important things in common, and that what they have in common provides the potential for clusters such as Tiruppur to upgrade their facilities and become technologically more sophisticated and more capable of competing in demanding markets. What they have in common is the competitive advantage which arises when enterprises which are clustered together are driven forward by the needs of demanding customers.
The idea that there are gains in clustering is old hat in industrial economics. It can be traced back to Alfred Marshall’s analysis of industrial districts in Britain. In his Principles of Economics (1st edition, 1890), Marshall stressed the economies which ‘can often be secured by the concentration of many small businesses of a similar character in particular localities’ (8th edition, 1920, 221). He refers to such gains as ‘external economies’ and sees them as particularly relevant to small firms. The concept of external economies is introduced by Marshall in order to draw out (i) why and how the location of industry matters, and (ii) why and how small firms can be efficient and competitive. In his own words, ‘we now proceed to examine those very important external economies which can often be secured by the concentration of many small businesses of a similar character in particular localities’ (1920:221). He refers to such localities as ‘localized industry’ or ‘industrial districts’. He does not provide a definition for either, but his examples make it clear that he meant a cluster with a deep inter-firm division of labour. 
The concept of external economies is essential to understand efficiency advantages which small firms derive from clustering. There remains, however, the problem that the concept is restricted to unplanned gains or losses. As stated by Mishan (1971:2), ‘the essential feature of the concept of an external effect is that the effect produced is not a deliberate creation but an unintended or incidental by-product of some otherwise legitimate activity. Such incidental effects are of enormous importance in contemporary industrial districts, but - as stressed by Brusco (1990), Piore and Sabel (1984), Trigilia (1989) and others - there is also consciously pursued joint action. Such joint action can be of two types, individual firms cooperating (for example, sharing equipment or developing a new product) and groups of firms joining forces in business associations, producer consortia and the like. The concept of collective efficiency brings together the incidental and consciously pursued firms and seeks to capture the essential point that competitiveness can neither be understood nor enhanced by focusing on individual firms. Collective efficiency can be defined as the competitive advantages derived from local external economies and joint action (Schmitz 1995b).
A clear understanding of what brings about this collective efficiency is critical for both analysis and policy. A group of producers making similar things in the same locality in itself brings few benefits. It does however help them to specialize; it attracts suppliers and buyers, and it generates a pool of specialized workers. As shown by Rabellotti (1995b) the external economies which arise range from static gains such as easy availability of inputs, to dynamic gains such as the fast spread of new ideas of how to innovate. Being in the same sector and location also facilitates taking joint action which again can range from more static concerns such as associations defending local producers in disputes with government or dynamic concerns such as taking groups of local producers to foreign trade fairs in the search for new markets.
A common misconception is that the stress on collective efficiency means denying competition. It does not. On the contrary, rivalry is often particularly severe amongst clustering producers, but this need not stop them from joining forces to overcome common bottlenecks in infrastructure, input supply or access to distant markets. It is the combination of competition and cooperation which drives the search for improvement. The combinations are many, a typical one being various manufacturers engaging in close cooperation with their suppliers (to improve quality and speedy delivery of components) and thus often benefiting their local rivals who work with the same supplier.706

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