Introduction: Agribusiness clusters in Europe, 19th and 20th centuries

A.M. Molema, Yves Segers, Erwin Karel

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    Clusters and the spatial concentration of economic development are themes
    which crop up more and more in recent debates in social and economic
    history. This special issue wants to foster an interdisciplinary crossover of
    theories and ideas between economic geographers and historians, and
    focuses on the development of several branches of agribusiness (dairy,
    horticulture, olive oil and agricultural machinery) in South-western and
    North-western Europe during the past two centuries. The five case studies
    unravel and analyse the connections and interdependencies between economic
    actors, knowledge institutions and the State in the agro-food chain.
    This analysis results in four main conclusions. Firstly, in the formation of
    regional economic clusters not only natural conditions played a major role, or
    other economic determinants such as an easy access to markets. Social and
    cultural connections between individuals and organizations that were shaped
    over time, and related to geographical proximity, were important too.
    Secondly, governments, entrepreneurs and interest organizations, who were
    firmly rooted in the region’s history, often cooperated and stimulated cluster
    development via regulatory frameworks, educational and scientific policies.
    Thirdly, not only consensus but also discord and competition can foster the
    clustering of economic activities. Finally, multi-scalar perspectives are needed
    in order to grasp the importance of connections between clusters and actors
    outside the region.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages16
    JournalTijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    • Economic clusters
    • Economic History
    • regional economy


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