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How does labour mobility affect the performance of plants?: The importance of relatedness and geographical proximity
Department of Economic Geography, Utrecht University, NL-3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Economic Geography, ISSN 1468-2702, E-ISSN 1468-2710, Vol. 9, no 2, 169-190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyses the impact of skill portfolios and labour mobility on plantperformance by means of a unique database that connects attributes of individuals to features of plants for the whole Swedish economy. We found that a portfolio of related competences at the plant level increases significantly productivity growth of plants, in contrast to plant portfolios consisting of either similar or unrelated competences. Based on the analysis of 101,093 job moves, we found that inflows of skills that are related to the existing knowledge base of the plant had a positive effect on plant performance, while the inflow of new employees with skills that are already present in the plant had a negative impact. Our analyses also show that geographical proximityinfluences the effect of different skill inflows. Inflows of unrelated skills only contribute positively to plant performance when these are recruited in the same region. Labour mobility across regions only has a positive effect on productivity growth of plants when this concerns new employees with related skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press , 2009. Vol. 9, no 2, 169-190 p.
Keyword [en]
labour mobility, related variety, skill portfolio, plant performance, geographical proximity
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-19671DOI: 10.1093/jeg/lbn041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-19671DiVA: diva2:202290
Available from: 2009-03-09 Created: 2009-03-09 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Labour mobility and plant performance: The influence of proximity, relatedness and agglomeration 
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Labour mobility and plant performance: The influence of proximity, relatedness and agglomeration 
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to shed new light on the theorizations discussing the economic benefits of geographical clustering in a space economy increasingly characterized by globalization processes. This is made possible through the employment of a plant-perspective and a focus on how the relative fixity and mobility of labour influence plant performance throughout the entire Swedish economy. 

By means of the longitudinal micro database ASTRID, connecting attributes of individuals to features of plants and localities for the whole Swedish economy, the empirical findings indicate that both localization and urbanization economies produce significant labour market externalities and that such inter-plant linkages positively affect plant performance as compared to the partial effects of relative regional specialization and diversification. Moreover, it is also demonstrated that it is necessary both to distinguish how well the external skills retrieved via labour mobility match the existing knowledge base of plants and to determine the geographical dimension of such flows to verify the relative effect of labour market-induced externalities. Finally, it is demonstrated that whereas general urbanization is beneficial within close distance to the plant, the composition of economic activities is more influential at greater distances. In such cases the geographical dimension influences whether plants benefit from being located in similar or different local settings. 

In conclusion, it is argued that the circulation of labour skills, created and reproduced through the place-specific industrial setup, is crucial for understanding the mechanisms creating geographical variations in plant performance as compared to other regional conditions often proxied as relative specialization or diversification. This is because the relative fixity of labour tends to create place- and sector-specific skills which by means of their mobility in space are likely to facilitate the recombination of local skills, make the acquirement of non-local skills possible and secure sufficient affinity between economic actors by strengthening other dimensions of proximity – all aspects regarded as crucial to facilitate interactive learning processes and contribute to sustained regional growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kulturgeografiska institutionen, 2009. 58 p.
Series
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2009:2
Keyword
Agglomeration economies, labour mobility, plant performance, geographical proximity, related variety, clusters
National Category
Social and Economic Geography Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-27715 (URN)978-91-978344-1-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-12-11, Sal 205, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-11-20 Created: 2009-11-17 Last updated: 2009-11-20Bibliographically approved

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