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Knowledge-intensive employment change in the Dutch Randstad and the German Rhine-Ruhr area: comparable patterns of growth and decline in two metropolitan regions?

Abstract

This paper investigates to what extent the different subsectors of the knowledge economy are subject to sector-specific spatial patterns of employment dynamics, and whether these patterns are conditional upon the general economic climate in a particular region. We analyze and compare patterns of employment change in the knowledge economy and its subsectors in the different settlement zones of the Dutch Randstad and the German Rhine-Ruhr area, thus investigating the interplay of the location of a municipality within a metropolitan region, sectoral characteristics, the regional economic climate, and municipal knowledge-intensive employment change. Our results show that with respect to knowledge-intensive employment, both the Randstad and the Rhine-Ruhr area exhibit sector-specific spatial patterns of employment dynamics. Location is found to play an important role in determining municipal knowledge-intensive employment change, suggesting that the features characterizing the position of a municipality within a metropolitan region have an effect on its employment dynamics. This impact differs both between sectors, and between regions being subject to either growth or decline.

Zusammenfassung

Der vorliegende Artikel untersucht, in welchem Hinblick die verschiedenen Subsektoren der Wissensökonomie sektorspezifische räumliche Muster der Beschäftigungsentwicklung ausbilden, und ob diese Muster vom ökonomischen Klima in der Region abhängig sind. Für die Randstad (Niederlande) und Rhein-Ruhr (Deutschland) wird die Beschäftigungsentwicklung in der Wissensökonomie und deren Subsektoren in verschiedenen Gemeindetypen miteinander verglichen, und es wird untersucht, inwiefern die räumliche Lage einer Gemeinde innerhalb einer Metropolregion, die sektorale Struktur und das ökonomische Klima in der Region die Beschäftigungsentwicklung in wissensintensiven Sektoren beeinflussen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass sowohl die Randstad, als auch Rhein-Ruhr sektorspezifische räumliche Muster der Beschäftigungsentwicklung ausbilden. Die räumliche Lage einer Gemeinde scheint dabei Einfluss auf das Beschäftigungswachstum zu nehmen, was auf spezifische Standortqualitäten innerhalb einer Metropolregion zurückzuführen ist. Dieser Effekt differenziert zwischen den Subsektoren der Wissensökonomie sowie zwischen den beiden Untersuchungsregionen, welche unterschiedliche ökonomische Rahmenbedingungen aufweisen.

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Notes

  1. It could be argued that in a metropolitan region, there is no ‘periphery’ at all, since all its municipalities are centrally located compared to those outside the metropolitan region. When using this expression in the context of this paper, we refer to what we consider to be the ‘metropolitan periphery’ as opposed to the more central locations within the metropolitan region.

  2. The classification employed in this paper follows Zillmer (2010), who refers to the German Classification of Economic Activities (WZ 2003), corresponding to the Nomenclature statistique des activités économiques dans la Communauté européenne (NACE).

  3. It should be noted that no definite demarcation of the Randstad region exists. Our approach aims to facilitate comparability with the data employed for the Rhine-Ruhr area, thus including the municipalities in the ‘Green Heart’ between the four largest cities of the Netherlands as well as the areas north of Amsterdam, Haarlem and Amersfoort, all of which are situated in commuting distance to the high-density areas surrounding the eight large(st) cities in the area. Yet, the Randstad has also been delineated differently, either only consisting of the aforementioned eight cities located in a ring-shaped manner across the provinces of North-Holland, South-Holland and Utrecht and their immediate surroundings, or stretching further towards the East and South of the Netherlands, thus also embracing cities such as Breda, Arnhem and Nijmegen.

  4. These numbers refer to the year 2003.

  5. Unfortunately, information regarding the municipal settlement structure and population density could not be employed for the year 2000 due to the fact that a large number of Dutch municipalities were subject to restructuring (in most cases merging) between 2000 and 2005. We therefore use information for 2005 instead.

  6. There would have been two other possibilities: One would have been to use one of the categories as reference category, yet this would have required the interpretation of the remaining coefficients in relation to this reference category. Another option would have been the estimation of a constrained linear regression in which the sum of the coefficients of the four different settlement structures is set equal to zero, so that the coefficients of the dummy variables would have shown ‘the extent to which behavior in the respective regions deviates from the (…) average’ (Suits 1982). Since both approaches would have made the interpretation of the coefficients rather cumbersome, and since we established that the inclusion of the four dummy variables has a negligible impact on the direction and magnitude of the coefficients of the other variables, we opted for estimating the model without intercept.

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Correspondence to Kristin Kronenberg.

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Kronenberg, K., Volgmann, K. Knowledge-intensive employment change in the Dutch Randstad and the German Rhine-Ruhr area: comparable patterns of growth and decline in two metropolitan regions?. Rev Reg Res 34, 39–60 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10037-013-0082-9

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Keywords

  • Employment change
  • Knowledge economy
  • Settlement structure
  • The Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Metropolitan region

JEL Classification

  • O18
  • R11
  • R12