Title: Social capital, clusters, and interpretive fuzziness: a survey of the key literature (with specific reference to economic development in South East Europe)

Authors: Amira Vejzagic-Ramhorst; Panayiotis H. Ketikidis; Robert Huggins

Addresses: South East Europe Research Centre, SEERC, 24 Proxenou Koromila Street, Thessaloniki, Greece. ' Department of Computer Science, City College, 13 Tsimiski Str, 54624 Thessaloniki, Greece. ' Centre for Advanced Studies, Cardiff School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA, UK

Abstract: This paper aims to give an overview of the extant literature on the various aspects related to social capital (definition, conceptual framework(s), and empirical research), especially with regard to cluster development and place-based learning. The paper also aims to extend the discourse on social capital as it relates to firm learning in transition economies, in particular South East Europe. The paper finds that while there is significant evidence of an apparent link between social capital and the economic and innovative performance of firms and the places in which they are located, the differing definitions and measures used to capture these links leads to an interpretive fuzziness across the literature as a whole. It is further found that the lack of social capital among firms in South East Europe, as manifested by low levels of trust, is potentially a key barrier undermining the development of industrial clusters.

Keywords: social capital; cluster development; place-based learning; networks; industrial clusters; South East Europe; SEE; literature review; transition economies; innovative performance; economic performance; firm performance; interpretive fuzziness.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIRD.2012.045141

International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, 2012 Vol.4 No.1, pp.60 - 78

Published online: 23 Aug 2014 *

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