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Title: Social networks, collaborations and high-tech cluster formation in an emerging country : the case of biotechnology in Chile
Author: Romero, Carmen Veronica Clara Contreras
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 1405
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Geographic clusters of firms have been extensively studied in different bodies of literature, but little attention has been paid to the process of cluster formation and its determinants. While focusing on the effects of clusters on innovations and on the productivity of firms, the literature has neglected the agency of entrepreneurs in cluster emergence. This thesis aims to contribute to the literature on clusters by studying the role of personal networks and firm networks in three aspects of the emergence of clusters: 1) the early stages of formation; 2) the creation of business relations between firms; and 3) the creation of knowledge among clustered firms. The analysis was conducted using the biotechnology sector in four geographic regions of Chile as a case study. Data on firms was collected using in-depth interviews and a survey. The analysis of the data was carried out using content analysis, multilevel estimations and econometric analysis. The results reveal three main findings. First, the personal and business relations of entrepreneurs can determine the location decisions of firms. Second, personal relations are positively associated with the emergence of formal business relations between firms. Third, the number of personal and business connections a firm has positively affects its production of knowledge, measured as patent applications and scientific journals. These findings suggest that social networks within a cluster shape its emergence and development. The results also show that the different types of networks coexisting in a cluster - personal networks, business networks and research networks, among others - affect one another and determine the development of clusters. The implications of this research may be helpful for policy-makers, professional associations and cluster managers. Activities to foster personal interaction between members of a cluster and other key actors - universities, incubators, venture capital firms, government agencies, etc. - may generate collaborations between firms that would not otherwise emerge.
Supervisor: Fu, Xiaolan Sponsor: Becas Chile
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Innovation Policies ; Entrepreneurship ; Economics of Innovation ; cluster emergence ; high-tech entrepreneurship ; emerging country ; social networks ; biotechnology