Stephen John Appold
H. John Heinz School of Public Policy and Management (then)
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
The regional literature suggests that local labor markets offer significant
operating advantages to firms in knowledge-intensive industries and, thus,
influence the development of contemporary industrial location patterns.
Utilizing two datasets containing information on the employment changes
of U.S. semiconductor engineers during the critical (1950-1975) formative
period, this paper tests the pooling and anchoring hypotheses of urban
economic theory while extending the theory to incorporate the effects of
labor and firm specialization. Findings include 1) moderate evidence
of locality-centered labor pooling in this occupation during this early
time period; and 2) no evidence of anchoring by non-market actors, such
as universities and government laboratories or by early labor markets.
Evidence is found, however, 3) that agglomerations of firms develop as
a result of imperfect skill-opportunity matches. The results discount
frequently offered explanations for the emergence of industrial agglomerations
and suggest that agglomerations are not the outcome of firm searches for
operating efficiencies but may be a product of entrepreneurship induced
by particular "permanently failing" firms.
Environment and Planning A 30:439-462 (1998)
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