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Entrepreneurial Policy: The Case of Regional Specialization vs. Spontaneous Industrial Diversity


Pierre Desrochers, tel.: (905) 828-5206; e-mail:, to Frederic Sautet at


Regional economic development policy is recognized as a key tool governments use to foster economic prosperity. Whether specialization (or diversity) of economic activities should be a regional development policy goal is often debated. We address this question in a local-diversity context, by reviewing traditional arguments in its favor, supplemented with evidence for more entrepreneurial concepts like industrial symbiosis and Jacobs externalities. We show that the context of entrepreneurship matters more to policy than the type and form of resulting industries. Policies enabling entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities in a context of spontaneously evolved industrial diversity are better facilitators of regional development.