Document Type : Research Paper
Human Geography, Faculty of Geography, Kish International University, Kish Island, Iran
The current research examines the impact of the gypsum industrial cluster on the economic development of rural areas, which is considered one of the ways to overcome economic and social problems such as employment, income, poverty, etc. in rural areas. When there are a number of companies with similar activities and products in a geographical area, it is possible to create an industrial cluster. It has been more than a decade that industrial development based on clusters, as a new strategy, has attracted the attention of planners and policymakers of industrialized and developing countries. Industrial clusters can be the driving engine of the national and regional economies. For this purpose, this research analyzes the role of the gypsum cluster in the surrounding rural geographical territory of Semnan and Sorkheh. The studied industrial cluster is the Semnan gypsum cluster, which has 50 active industrial companies in the field of the production of gypsum and its products. This cluster plays an important role in the economy and employment of Semnan province.
In terms of objective, this research is an applied research. This study is a descriptive-analytical research in terms of analyzing the current situation and evaluating the relationship between variables. In this research, the statistical population is all heads of households living in rural areas, experts and factory owners who were present in the region at the time of the study (the year 1401). Therefore, the unit of analysis is the individual. In order to calculate the size of the statistical population, Cochran's formula was used, and a total of 376 people were estimated. In order to select the respondents in the study, a multi-stage sampling method was used. For this purpose, in the first stage, 15 villages were selected using random sampling and the samples were randomly selected and questioned. The required data were collected using a closed questionnaire from the statistical population. The designed questionnaire includes two parts. The first part examines the personal characteristics of the respondents. The second part examines economic issues in the region. The face validity of the questionnaire was checked with the help of several professors and researchers in a pre-test phase and it was confirmed after making corrections. Also, the reliability of the research scales was equal to 0.85 and was "appropriate". In order to identify the role of gypsum clusters in the study area, factor analysis was used.
The results related to individual characteristics as well as the descriptive information of the variables, frequencies and averages and the output of the analysis of the preliminary statistical results of the respondents show that out of 376 respondents, 73.1% were men and 26.9% were women. The frequency of age shows that 47.1% of them were between 31 and 40 years old, and 32.7% of them were between 41 and 50 years old. 17 items were used for factor analysis. The results of factor analysis show that the calculated KMO value is equal to 0.95 and the error of Bartlett's sphericity test is equal to 0.00, which indicates the reliability of the research results. Also, the results of this test after the rotation of the factors show that a total of seven factors were obtained after the rotation of the factors, which explains 76.499% of the total variance of the data. Based on this, the identified factors include economic factor with a special value of 12.85%, social factor with a special value of 12.3%, economic physical factor with a special value of 12.3% and other factors including competitiveness, investment, support and entrepreneurship factors.
The current research aims to investigate the role of the Semnan and Sorkheh gypsum industrial cluster in the growth of the regional economy by relying on the endogenous and sustainable growth model. With the relevant hypothesis, it proposes an effective and efficient model in similar samples for the self-reliance of the regions in order to achieve continuous and stable growth according to the capacities and potentials of the regions. Clusters are basically an endogenous development pattern that is based on regional social and economic conditions and structures. The development pattern of each cluster is specific to the same cluster and region, and one pattern cannot be used for the whole clusters. Haidari et al. (2017: 125) stated that, in general, all industrial clusters need a strategic architecture, but from each cluster to another there will be differences in this architecture that should be taken care of. All regions that seek to form industrial clusters should pay special attention to the main competition, basic infrastructure and information systems for accurate market direction (Robert and Stimson 2002: 27).
The results obtained from this research showed that gypsum industrial clusters increase investment in rural areas, improve the quality of life and well-being of people, increase household income, develop infrastructure, and increase services and the sense of participation of villagers, employment and easy access to information and communication technology in villages. Of course, the impact varies according to the distance of the rural areas from the gypsum industrial cluster. Considering the effect of gypsum industrial clusters, it seems that the construction of production workshops complementary to these industries in the rural areas that are adjacent to these clusters can provide the necessary ground for more industries to enter rural areas. In this regard, the development of rural infrastructure in line with the establishment of these industries will create the basis for the transformation of the economic and social situation of the residents of rural areas and will increase the level of employment, income and, as a result, improve their living conditions. Also, payment of facilities within the framework of cooperative structures and rural industries unions will also lead to cost reduction and increase capital productivity. In addition to this, paying attention to the widespread participation of villagers in the field of investment in rural industrial units is in line with increasing their sense of responsibility and their benefit from the profit from the sales of necessary products.