Creativity and productivity can be boosted when people and companies are based in geographic clusters, but knowledge of the exact benefits of clustering is still limited, according to a Trinity College academic.

Karol Jan Borowiecki will deliver a paper to the Royal Economic Society's 2011 conference in London later this month analysing the benefits associated with cluster locations.

His research is based on conclusions from the creative productivity of classical composers in the 18th and 19th centuries and the importance of the cities they predominantly worked in, that is Paris, Vienna and London.

He found that composers who worked in such clusters were around 33% more productive than others, and that the benefits were due to interactions with other colleagues, and not as a result of better cultural infrastructure.

Mr Borowiecki said the issues raised by the study were relevant to policymakers who tried to replicate the success stories of clusters such as Silicon Valley in the US. He says that without knowledge of the relationship between clustering and productivity, interventions by policymakers can cause 'harmful distortions' in the market.