The paper investigates the main characteristics of the most relevant high-tech industrial districts (or clusters) located in the South of Italy and analyzes the public policies that aim to support their development. Section one, which draws on a wide survey to describe both the start-up process and the growth pattern of these industrial clusters, highlights that several factors, in particular the presence of a large firm, the availability of specific human capital and the existence of dense networks between firms and research centres, play a central role in shaping their evolution patterns. Section two assesses the industrial and technology policies, stressing their limits and implementation difficulties. The third and last section suggests how the policymakers can make use of these insights to foster and improve the development of high-tech industrial districts.
Keywords: High-tech clusters, Mezzogiorno regions, economic development, industrial policies
Jel Code: L62, L63, L86, O25, R11, J2