Does France Have a Silicon Valley?

16 August 2006 at 11:03 am 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

Jeremy Fain says yes, in southwest Paris. Not quite Silicon Valley, perhaps, but an important innovation cluster nonetheless.

I find this sort of discussion interesting, but am troubled by the “How-can-we-create-another-Silicon-Valley” approach so common in the clustering literature. The assumption is that technology clusters are created, or at least encouraged, by government policy, and that such policies that are in principle replicable. By contrast, if clusters emerge from the bottom up, there is little that policymakers can do, besides removing obstacles to entrepreneurial activity. (See Desrochers and Sautet, “Cluster-Based Economic Strategy, Facilitation Policy and the Market Process.”)

Update: Austan Goolsbee says investing in universities is not likely to produce the next Silicon Valley.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Entrepreneurship, Institutions.

NYU Journal of Law and Liberty I Know Just What You Mean

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jeremyfain  |  16 August 2006 at 11:16 am

    Thank you for your Pingback Peter.

    In fact, I´m quite critical regarding the “How-can-we-create-another-Silicon-Valley” approach: every regional cluster has to create its own model. Looking at competing territories´s best practices sounds good, but in the case of Paris, I believe what´s going on there is very, very unique and only applicable to France: good if not excellent transport infrastructure allowing departmental commuting, high-end quality of education, more and more VC available – but one big shortcoming: lack of angel funding.

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  16 August 2006 at 11:23 am

    Thanks, Jeremy. A related question is whether VC leads, or lags, innovation. I commented on this recently on the mises blog:

    The empirical evidence seems quite mixed.

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