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Cristina Aragón, Mari Jose Aranguren, Cristina Iturrioz, James Wilson
Volumen: 2011-R01 (ENG)

English // ISBN/ISSN: 2011-R01WPS // Keywords: Cluster Policy; Evaluation; Methodology; Action Research.




Cluster policies have become a consolidated tool among regional policies, and albeit their growing presence there remains scepticism around the way in which the cluster concept is often treated as a policy panacea. Indeed, the evaluation of cluster policies is a critical yet under-examined issue. In Spain, the Basque Country Autonomous Community, was one of the pioneers of regional cluster policy, and in recent years various evaluations have been made of different aspects of the policy. Yet it has proved challenging to undertake a holistic evaluation in terms of the success of the policy in achieving its ultimate aim of enhancing the competitiveness of the Basque economy.

This paper develops the rationale for applying a participatory evaluation approach, rooted in an action research framework, to the cluster policy of the Basque Government. Based on this rationale we present a methodology that has been designed for specific pilot application with the Basque aerospace cluster. In doing so, we aim to contribute to debate around the applicability and practical implementation of such methodologies to the evaluation of ‘soft’, co-operationbased regional policies.