Smart specialization and the occupation space

Authors: Emelie Hane-Weijman*, Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Rikard Eriksson, Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, David Rigby, Geography and Statistics, UCLA
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: smart specialization, occupation space, diversification, branching
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Smart specialization has gathered considerable interest in both policy and academic circles, and aims at addressing regional diversification strategies by building on the capabilities already present in the region. While previous studies have addressed this in relation to the knowledge space of regions, we focus on occupations since they are based on the work people carry out and the skills, education and training needed to perform the work. Hence addressing the potential of regions to successfully reallocate workers to new economic activities. To do this, a mapping of the occupational space is needed to measure the ‘distance’ a worker has to move between different employments within a region, and hence address the frictions and potential costs that certain mobilities entails. These changes over time are in addition associated with a ‘direction’, that reveals the potential costs and benefits of new occupational specializations. By means of longitudinal data on all workers and occupations in Sweden 2002-2013, an occupational space is constructed using a revealed relatedness matrix of occupational co-occurrences. We then model this in relation to economic performance to analyse how strategies of smart specialisation can open up for productive trajectories for both the region and the workers.

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