Science parks, electronics activities and regional development : the case of Manitoba

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Chan, Fung Kwan Wong
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The objective of this thesis is to identify the key factors underpinning the operations of effective science parks. Electronics activities are taken as the yardstick for inferring the nature and degree of science park development. This is done by placing the determinants of electronics industries within a theoretical framework drawn from the industry life-cycle concept of the behavioural paradigm. Abstracting from that theory, the following two hypotheses are derived: (1) the survival of the early-stage firms, namely, the small innovative firms, is dependent upon the presence of external learning economies; and (2) their survival is also a result of the presence of entrepreneurial learning economies. A logit model that covers Western Canada as a whole and a multiple regression model that focuses on Manitoba are established for empirical verification of these hypotheses. The firm-level data are collected through questionnaire survey and in-person interviews. The econometric results of both models confirms that the two types of learning economics contribute significantly both to the agglomeration of the early-stage electronics firms in the first place and to their subsequent expansion in the second place. All in all, both models suggest that the successfulness of a science park depends on the coordination of key players both within electronics industries and government agencies, universities, research institutions, and financial agencies, all of which are lubricated by a proactive park management team led by an official who knows and guides the processes of industrial agglomeration within his or her jurisdiction. However, one must note that these economics alone are insufficient to generate desirable results; rather, it is the whole-hearted long-term commitment by the local authorities to the provision of infrastructure that is the overwhelming determinant of science-park effectiveness.