LKY School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
PP5279 Clusters and National Competitiveness
Wednesdays in MM-SR 2-2 from 2 to 5 pm
Office : OTH Level 3/Wing A
Tel. : 6516-7031
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
This course is intended for post-graduate students of Public Policy, Business, Economic Geography, Economic Development, Regional and Urban Studies as well as others who have an interest in exploring the role of location and clusters in creating competitive advantage for business and prosperity for cities, regions and nations.
About the course
This course explores the determinants of national and regional competitiveness from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective. It probes the ultimate determinants of a nation’s or region’s productivity, rooted in the strategies and operating practices of locally-based firms, the vitality of clusters and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place.
The course examines both advanced and developing economies and addresses the competitiveness of nations and particular clusters. It also examines the role that economic coordination among neighboring countries plays in competitiveness.
The course is concerned not only with government policy but also with the roles that firms, industry associations, universities, and other institutions play in competitiveness. Each of these institutions has an important role in modern international competition. Moreover, the process of creating and sustaining an economic strategy for a nation or region is a daunting challenge. The course explores not only theory and policy, but also the organizational and institutional structures, and change processes required for sustained improvements in competitiveness.
Students will learn to use Michael Porter’s Diamond framework. This is a practical diagnostic tool for the business environment, which can be applied to clusters, regions, nations or groups of countries. From the diagnosis, they will be able to make specific policy recommendations to improve the business environment so as to improve productivity and competitiveness. This process will be practiced and reinforced in a team project on a cluster of their choice.
Pre-requisite (or concurrently)
Introductory Economics course.
A team project and individual class participation are each worth 50% of the total grade.
Each team must choose a country (or a region within a country) and a cluster for analysis. The focus of the project is on the application of concepts to analyze a country and a cluster. Project presentations will start in the later part of the course. Further guidelines will be provided in class.
This course deals with a complex subject and is taught using the case method. The case method and the learning value of peer interaction and discussion require extensive advance preparation by participants for every class.
PRE-reading on case method
John S. Hammond “Learning by the Case Method” HBS 9-376-241
readings and text
Michael E. Porter (2008) On Competition
Updated and Expanded Edition, Harvard Business Press
The relevant chapters from this book will be provided and supplementary reading will be assigned later.