Along with the recent resurgence of interest in the agglomeration and clustering of economic activity, there has been increasing interest in industry clusters as a potential economic development strategy. Ultimately, the question of whether or not clusters are an appropriate focus of economic development strategies for rural areas depends on the relationship between clusters and local economic growth. The primary purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the issues involved in measuring the relationship between clusters and rural economic growth. Preliminary evidence of a positive association between industry clusters and rural earnings growth are presented, supporting the notion that a cluster-focused development strategy may be effective in some rural areas.

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