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Specialization, Diversity, Competition and their Impact on Local Economic Growth in Germany

This study systematically examines the impact of fundamental elements of urban economic structure on urban growth in Germany from 2003 to 2007. We test four elements simultaneously, that is sectoral specialization, diversification of economic activities, urban size as well as the impact of local competition. To account for the effect of varying spatial delimitations in the analysis of urban growth, we further differentiate between cities and planning regions as geographical units. The analysis covers manufacturing industries as well as service sectors. Most previous work produces inconsistent results and concentrates on localization economies and/or diversification, while urban size and the effect of local competition are widely ignored. Our regression results show a U-shaped relationship between localization economies and urban growth and positive effects of local competition on urban growth. With respect to diversification, we find positive effects on urban growth on the city-level, but insignificant results on the level of the planning regions. The impact of urban size also differs between free cities and planning regions; in the former a U-shaped relationship is found whereas the effect is inversely U-shaped for the latter.

01. April 2010

Authors Martin T. W. Rosenfeld Annette Illy Michael Schwartz Christoph Hornych

Suggested Reading

Local Economic Structure and Sectoral Employment Growth in German Cities

Annette Illy Michael Schwartz Christoph Hornych Martin T. W. Rosenfeld

in: Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, No. 5, 2011

Abstract

This study systematically examines the impact of fundamental elements of urban economic structure on sectoral employment growth in German cities (“urban growth”). We test four elements simultaneously – sectoral specialisation, diversification of economic activities, urban size and the impact of local competition. To account for the effect of varying spatial delimitations in the analysis of urban growth, we further differentiate between cities and planning regions as geographical units. Our regression results show a U-shaped relationship between localisation economies and urban growth and positive effects of local competition on urban growth. With respect to diversification, we find positive effects on urban growth on the city level, but insignificant results on the level of the planning regions. The impact of urban size also differs between free cities and planning regions; in the former, a U-shaped relationship is found, whereas the effect is inversely U-shaped for the latter.

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