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The neglected heterogeneity of spatial agglomeration and co-location patterns of creative employment: evidence from Portugal

Abstract

Empirical literature on the geographical location of creative activities has been traditionally based on the spatial analysis of industries, often disregarding the creative employment that lies outside the necessarily limited boundaries of creative industries. As an extension to the most recent methodologies using industry and occupational data on industrial cluster analysis, this paper analyses agglomeration and co-location patterns of core creative activities, considering both ‘embedded’ (creative professionals working outside the creative sectors) and ‘specialized’ (creative professionals working in the creative sectors) creative employment. Using location quotients and principal component factor and cluster analyses, applied to all 308 Portuguese municipalities, we found that the geographical agglomeration and co-location patterns of core creative groups differ substantially. The typical arguments sustained by the literature—the tendency of creative industries/employment to agglomerate and co-locate in large metropolises—are only supported in the case of knowledge-intensive activities subjected to Intellectual Property Rights, most notably ‘Advertising/Marketing’, ‘Publishing’, ‘TV/Radio’, and ‘Software/Digital Media’, densely concentrated and co-located in highly developed, large urban centres, with high levels of human capital. These arguments do not hold for the traditional creative activities of ‘Architecture’, ‘Design/Visual Arts’ and ‘Crafts’, which, although co-located, appear mostly dispersed with small concentrations around intermediate urban centres. ‘Teaching/training/research’ present quite dispersed geographical patterns with some clusterization around municipalities with tertiary education institutions. ‘Film/video/photography’ and ‘Music/Performing Arts’ show some dispersion throughout the Portuguese territory with concentration around small urban centres and in rural areas. It is evident that, from agglomeration to co-location patterns, creative employment reveals heterogeneous characteristics across creative groups.

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Notes

  1. To have an idea, a search in the Scopus database with the keywords ‘creative industries’ or ‘creative occupations’ yielded 554 articles using these keywords in the fields ‘title’, ‘abstract’ and ‘keywords’. Adding the keyword ‘location’ to the search only returns 37 articles (and 54 articles if the word ‘geography’ is added), 6 % (9 %) of the unrestricted search on creative industries and occupations.

  2. According to the latest data available (2009), national employment in the private, structured sector totalled 3.128.126 workers. It covers all employment in industries and establishments operating in the national territory with at least one employee, excluding Public Administration and self-employment. Cruz and Teixeira (2013) discuss the implications of such exclusions in the estimation of core creative employment.

  3. Factor analysis assesses the structure of a set of interrelated observed variables in order to find a low number of intrinsic/latent factors that may partially explain the behaviour of original variables. If two variables are (not spuriously) correlated, their interdependency results from a common, not directly observable feature, i.e. a latent factor (Maroco 2011: 471).

  4. A simple industry-based analysis was complementarily undertaken. It yielded modest results when compared to the present industry and occupational analysis. Data on industry/SIC sectors only served to conclude that core creative industries are agglomerated and co-located in two large urban centres: Lisbon and Oeiras.

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Acknowledgments

A word of sincere appreciation to the referees for their insightful comments and suggestions. The authors are also grateful to Professor Armindo Carvalho (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto, Portugal) for the valuable suggestions. We acknowledge the courtesy of the GEE/MEE—Gabinete de Estratégia e Estudos/Ministry of Economy and Employment, Portugal, for permitting the access to data which turned this study possible. The GEE/MEE is not responsible for the results and interpretations contained in this paper. These are of the authors’ full responsibility. This study had the financial support of the Portuguese government—Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Ministry of Education and Science, and was co-financed by the European Social Fund (FCT Doctoral Grant SFRH-BD-69571-2010).

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Correspondence to Aurora A. C. Teixeira.

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Cruz, S.S., Teixeira, A.A.C. The neglected heterogeneity of spatial agglomeration and co-location patterns of creative employment: evidence from Portugal. Ann Reg Sci 54, 143–177 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-014-0649-6

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JEL Classification

  • C01
  • R12
  • R30