Geografie 2016, 121, 254-278

The takeover of Prague’s banking cluster by multinational groups from an evolutionary perspective

Jiří Blažek, Ilona Bečicová

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Prague, Czechia

Received March 2015
Accepted December 2015

This article identifies the main drivers in the evolution of the banking cluster in Prague over the last two centuries. Conceptually, it employs the adaptive-cycle model of cluster evolution, which acknowledges the role of external factors in cluster evolution. An empirical analysis shows that the evolution of the banking cluster in Prague has been primarily driven by several episodes of major external disruptions. A particular attention is paid to the latest phase of cluster evolution, which started around the beginning of the 21st century when Prague’s banks were taken over by foreign multinational groups. We argue that, despite the numerous costs and risks associated with this “subsidiarisation” of the banking cluster in Prague, there were benefits, some of which were surprisingly manifested during the 2008–2009 global economic crisis.


This work was supported by the European Science Foundation grant provided by the Czech Science Foundation No. CRP/11/E025 Cluster Life Cycles – the role of actors, network and institutions in emergence, growth, decline and rejuvenation of clusters. The authors would like to thank to Olivier Crevoisier, both reviewers and the Editor for their constructive feedback, to Michael Klein for performing one of the interviews and to our interviewees for sharing their insights.


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