Zooming In: A Practical Manual for Identifying Geographic Clusters

28 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2013

See all articles by Juan Alcacer

Juan Alcacer

Harvard University - Strategy Unit

Minyuan Zhao

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: August 1, 2013


This paper takes a close look at the reasons, procedures, and results of cluster identification methods. Despite being a popular research topic in strategy, economics, and sociology, geographic clusters are often studied with little consideration given to the underlying economic activities, the unique cluster boundaries, or the appropriate benchmark of economic concentration. Our goal is to increase awareness of the complexities behind cluster identification, and to provide concrete insights and methodologies applicable to various empirical settings. The organic cluster identification methodology we propose is especially useful when researchers work in global settings, where data available at different geographic units complicates comparisons across countries.

Suggested Citation

Alcacer, Juan and Zhao, Minyuan, Zooming In: A Practical Manual for Identifying Geographic Clusters (August 1, 2013). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 14-042, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2359611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2359611

Juan Alcacer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495-6338 (Phone)
617 495-0355 (Fax)

Minyuan Zhao

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

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