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Specialization and regional economic development

Kemeny, Thomas and Storper, Michael (2012) Specialization and regional economic development. SERC Discussion Papers, SERCDP0121. Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Debates about urban growth and change often center on specialization.However, arguments linking specialization to metropolitan economic development contain diverse, and sometimes conflicting, claims. Is it better to be highly specialized or diversified? Does specialization refer to the absolute scale of an activity in a region, its share within the regional economy, or its share in the nation’s economy? Does specialization have static effects, or is its impact chiefly evolutionary? This paper starts by investigating these different theoretical claims. We then turn to an empirical inquiry into the roles of relative and absolute specialization. By analyzing local agglomerations over time, we find that growing absolute specialization is positively linked to wages, while changes in relative concentration are not significantly associated with wage dynamics. This supports notions of specialization based on the absolute size of an agglomeration, and casts doubt on notions of specialization based on shares of an activity in the regional economy.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publication...
Additional Information: © 2012 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O2 - Development Planning and Policy > O21 - Planning Models; Planning Policy
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R11 - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, and Changes
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade
Sets: Research centres and groups > Spatial Economics Research Centre
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2014 08:35
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2014 08:35
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Welsh Assembly Government
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/58538

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