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Localized spillovers and knowledge flows: How does proximity influence the performance of plants?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2011 (English)In: Economic Geography, ISSN 0013-0095, E-ISSN 1944-8287, Vol. 87, no 2, 127-152 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

By means of a unique longitudinal database with information on all plants and employees in the Swedish economy, this paper analyzes how geographical proximity influences the impact of localized spillovers and knowledge flows on the productivity growth of plants. Concerning the effects of spillovers, we show that the density of economic activities as such mainly contributes to plant performance within a very short distance from the plant and that the composition of economic activities is more influential further away. Regarding the influence of local industrial setup, proximity increases the need to be located near different, but related, industries whereas in-creased distance implies a greater effect of intra-industry spillovers. The analyses also demonstrate that knowledge flows via the mobility of skilled labor is primarily a sub-regional phenomenon. Only inflows of skills that are related to the existing knowledge base of plants and come from less than 50 kilometers away have a positive effect on plant performance. Concerning outflows of skills, the results indicate that it is less harmful for a dispatching plant if a former employee remains within the local economy as compared to leaving for a job in another part of the national economy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Worcester: Clark University , 2011. Vol. 87, no 2, 127-152 p.
Keyword [en]
Agglomeration economies, knowledge spillovers, labor mobility, plant performance, geographical proximity, related variety
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-27713DOI: 10.1111/j.1944-8287.2011.01112.xISI: 000288658400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-27713DiVA: diva2:277337
Available from: 2013-04-22 Created: 2009-11-17 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically 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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