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‘One thing leads to another’, but where? – Gateway cities and the geography of production linkages

Authors: Moritz Breul*, University of Cologne
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Production linkages; Oil and gas; Extractive industries; Gateway cities; Southeast Asia
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Although it has been argued that current configurations of extractive industries provide opportunities for the development of production linkages, in other words that ‘one thing leads to another’, these opportunities are not necessarily realized directly in the resource holding countries. The aim of this article is to provide an explanation for why the greater opportunities for increased production linkage creation may remain unrealized. While existing research on production linkages is characterized by a national scale mode of analysis, this article examines production linkages in the resource poor gateway city Singapore intended to serve oil and gas operations on a macro-regional level in Indonesia and Vietnam. The results reveal that a significant depth and breadth of production linkages unfolded in Singapore, highlighting that in particular sophisticated production linkages tend to have a broader geographic scope. Moreover, the analysis identifies factors that have shifted the territorial scale of labour intensive and low technology production linkages from a macro-regional towards a national or subnational level to the advantage of the extraction countries. These insights contribute to add complexity to studying production linkage development and emphasize the need for a multi-scalar perspective that does not stop at national borders.

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