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Assessing urban adaptive capacity using economic networks

Authors: Shade T. Shutters*, Arizona State University, Dylan Weber, Arizona State University, Srivatsav Kandala, Arizona State University, Vikash Bajaj, Arizona State University, Fangwu Wei, Arizona State University
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Sustainability Science
Keywords: urban networks, economic structure, urban resilience, adaptive capacity, industrial relatedness
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 9:50 AM / 10:05 AM
Room: Virtual Track 11
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Since at least Hidalgo and Hausmann’s seminal 2007 work on a global “product space”, researchers have used extensions of their methodology to quantify the relatedness or interdependence of parts of an economy, where parts might be products, industries, occupations, etc. Those values of interdependence can be used as weights to construct a network representing the economic structures of particular areas. In this study we use a variant of the Hidalgo-Hausmann methodology to construct economic networks of U.S. cities, where each city’s network is a subnetwork of the full U.S. economic network (or “industry space”). Using nearly 20 years of high quality county-level data aggregated to both metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, we then measure how each city’s subnetwork moves through the full network over time by calculating a distance between subnetworks in different years. We focus on how the magnitude of that movement changes or does not change during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Thus, we quantify the change in each city’s economic structure over time in response to a global shock. Finally, we correlate that change, which we take as a measure of a city’s adaptive capacity, with more traditional metrics of economic performance to better understand the role that adaptive capacity plays in urban economic resilience and attempt to develop a typology of urban economies based on how their economic structures respond to shocks.

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