By Dean Whittaker

The concept of economic clusters has been around for several years. Now, with the advent of the Internet and Harvard University’s Institute for Competitiveness and Strategy Economic Cluster analysis has taken it to a new level with their Cluster Mapping Project. Using their tool, one can compare metropolitan areas.

Employment in high wage clusters are graphed by this tool to providing insight into clusters by wage (height) and by employment (width). The area of the bar indicates the importance of the cluster to the regional or state economy.

Patents per 10,000 employees provides an indication of the region’s or state’s level of innovation. The graph represents the patents per 10,000 compared to all metropolitan areas.

The website also allows for the analysis by clusters as this chart of the top twenty metro areas for the aerospace engine clusters shows. By comparing clusters from one geogrpahic it may be possible to identify opportunities for joint ventures and cross-regional cooperation.  

As more economic development embrace the concept of targeted clusters, The Institute for Competition and Strategy has given us a great tool to facility our understanding of how regional and state economies function.