Journal Article

Spatial Fragmentation of Industries by Functions

Annals of Regional Science, 54(1): 215–250

We explore to what extent key functions in manufacturing are spatially clustered with, or dispersed from, each other within industries, and how these clustering or dispersion patterns have changed during recent decades. Estimating the levels and changes (1992–2007) of localizations and colocalizations of selected functions (production, headquarter services, R&D) within 27 West German industries by means of K densities, we identify two broad groups of industries. In “fragmenting” industries, which account for one half of manufacturing employment, functions were more clustered with each other than the industry as a whole after the fall of the Iron Curtain but have, in accordance with regional theories of spatial fragmentation, been unbundled spatially from each other subsequently. In “integrating” industries, by contrast, which account for one third of manufacturing employment, functions were initially dispersed from each other but have subsequently been rebundled spatially with each other. We hypothesize that this spatial rebundling is a consequence of offshoring, i.e., international fragmentation.


Franz-Josef Bade
Eleonora Cutrini