From Blind Spots to Hotspots: How Knowledge Services Clusters Develop and Attract Foreign Investment

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This paper explores local and global dynamics underlying the development of knowledge services clusters, which we define as new geographic concentrations of technical talent and service providers offering upstream technical and knowledge-intensive business services to regional and global clients. Taking a co-evolutionary perspective on the development of knowledge services clusters in Latin America, based on data from the Offshoring Research Network (ORN), we find that cluster growth results from intersecting trajectories: the emergence of local talent pools and capabilities initially serving local and regional demand; broadening global search for talent and expertise by multinational corporations; and internationalization strategies of service providers competing to serve global clients. Findings suggest that increasing commoditization of knowledge services opens up windows of opportunity for new clusters, but also involves challenges for sustainable growth. Results may stimulate future research on global sourcing and cluster development.