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Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Functions: Identifying Sources of Regional Employment Growth in Germany from 2003 to 2008

This article analyses how regional employment growth in Germany is affected by related variety, unrelated variety and the functions a region performs in the production process. Following the related variety literature, we argue that regions benefit from the existence of related activities that facilitate economic development. However, we argue that the sole reliance of related variety on standard industrial classifications remains debatable. Hence, we offer estimations for establishing that conceptual progress can indeed be made when a focus for analysis goes beyond solely considering industries. We develop an industry-function based approach of related and unrelated variety. Our findings suggest that related variety only in combination with a high functional specialization of the region facilitates regional growth in Germany. Additionally, also unrelated variety per se fails to wield influences affecting development of regions. It is rather unrelated, but functionally proximate variety in the groups “White Collar” and “Blue Collar Workers” positively affects regional employment growth.

07. Oktober 2011

Autoren Matthias Brachert Alexander Kubis Mirko Titze

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Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Functions: A spatial panel approach

Matthias Brachert Alexander Kubis Mirko Titze

in: Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography , 2013

Abstract

The paper presents estimates for the impact of related variety, unrelated variety and the functions a region performs in the production process on regional employment growth in Germany. We argue that regions benefit from the existence of related activities that facilitate economic development. Thereby the sole reliance of the related and unrelated variety concept on standard industrial classifications (SIC) remains debatable. We offer estimations for establishing that conceptual progress can be made when the focus of analysis goes beyond solely considering industries. We develop an industry-function based approach of related and unrelated variety and test our hypothesis by the help of spatial panel approach. Our findings suggest that related variety as same as unrelated variety facilitate regional employment growth in Germany. However, the drivers behind these effects do differ. While the positive effect of related variety is driven by high degrees of relatedness in the regional “R&D” and “White-Collar”-functions, the effects of unrelated variety are spurred by “Blue Collar”-functions in this period.

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