Geographic concentration of industries in Jiangsu, China: a spatial point pattern analysis using micro-geographic data

Abstract

Detection of geographic concentration of economic activities at different spatial scales has long been of interest to researchers from spatial economics, regional science and economic geography. Using a unique dataset from the first industrial land use survey of its kind in China, this research is the first effort attempting to explore spatial distribution particularly geographic concentration of industries in China using firm-level data. Distance-based functions and spatial cluster analysis are employed to detect the spatial scales as well as the geographic locations of industrial concentration. The results indicate that four of the five selected industries are in general concentrated in southern Jiangsu at small spatial scales (less than 5 km), while the chemical industry demonstrates an overall spatial dispersion pattern relative to the distribution of all other industries. Most industrial clusters have a radius of less than 2.5 km containing 20–60% of enterprises and 60–86% of employees from each selected industry, with larger clusters showing relatively weaker concentration. This research demonstrates the connections and complementarity of different approaches, complementing previous studies that use distance-based functions with spatial scan statistics.

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    Generally, searching local clusters for large datasets with spatial scan statistics can be computationally expensive. For instance, a typical spatial cluster analysis using the SaTScan software involving 250,000 observations requires a computer memory of 128 GB (Kulldorff 2018). For the dataset used in this research which contains about 223,000 enterprises, it took about 20–80 min for running 1000 simulations of the M function, 18–22 h for the m function and nearly 4 h to identify local clusters for each industry using a desktop with the Intel Xeon Processor E5-2640@2.60 GHz and 256 GB memory.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Department of Natural Resources of Jiangsu for their provision of the industry land use survey data.

Funding

This study was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. B200204029).

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Correspondence to Jing Yao.

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Zhang, X., Yao, J., Sila-Nowicka, K. et al. Geographic concentration of industries in Jiangsu, China: a spatial point pattern analysis using micro-geographic data. Ann Reg Sci 66, 439–461 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-020-01026-x

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JEL Classification

  • C38
  • L60
  • R12