The evolution of cluster initiatives in Russia: the impacts of policy, life-time, proximity and innovative environment
Purpose – This paper aims at assessing the impacts of the national cluster policy, cluster age, cluster development benchmarks of neighbouring regions and the cumulative level of regional innovative capacity on the quantity and quality of cluster initiatives in Russia. Design/methodology/approach – Hypotheses’ testing was carried out by a series of calculations comparing the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of cluster initiatives; the number of new cluster initiatives to the number of neighbouring regions, where cluster initiatives had begun to develop earlier; and ranks of regions within the Russian regional innovation scoreboard to the quantity and quality characteristics of cluster initiatives therein. Findings – The results of the study empirically confirm that the national cluster policy significantly influenced the emergence and advancement of cluster initiatives in Russia. The proximity to the regions, having previously launched cluster support programmes, also had an impact on the emergence of new cluster initiatives. The cluster initiatives’ age had an ambiguous effect on their performance. Finally, the level of regional innovative capacity was correlated only with the number of cluster initiatives localised therein. Practical implications – The findings show that along with the direct effects of the national cluster policy for the government-supported clusters, there are positive externalities, e.g. the emergence of new cluster initiatives throughout the country. Originality/value – The research database of 277 cluster initiatives has been drawn up as a part of the first national cluster mapping and covers almost a decade of clustering activity in Russia. The study analyses not only the cluster initiatives supported by the federal government but also those developed independently.