Relocation of firms and employees in the knowledge economy in German Functional Urban Areas. Inter-metropolitan concentration versus intra-metropolitan deconcentration.

Authors: Mathias Heidinger*, , Fabian Wenner, Technical University of Munich, Alain Thierstein, Technical University of Munich
Topics: Europe, Economic Geography, Regional Geography
Keywords: agglomeration and network economies, relocation, knowledge economy, Germany, clustering, functional regional hierarchy, longitudinal analysis
Session Type: Paper
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The financial crisis of 2008-9 marked a clear downturn for the export-oriented German economy. At the same time, the crisis functioned as a catalyst for an underlying structural change that affects European countries until today. It also led to an economical shift with a growing importance of the knowledge economy. The question arises how these turbulences transformed not only different German metropolitan regions but also affected the hierarchy of Functional Urban Areas (FUA) itself. In our understanding, a metropolitan region is formed by several FUAs, typically defined as a city and its commuting zone, that are interlinked due to the spatial division of labor. This paper examines changes in spatial relocation processes of companies as well as employment in knowledge-intensive sectors and compares these in a longitudinal analysis. This analysis uses an extensive dataset, which includes the 30 largest firms of 16 knowledge-intensive branches in Germany, in total 270 advanced producer service firms (APS) and 210 high tech firms (HT), in addition movement data of employees between the years 2009 and 2019. We combine spatial and analytical statistics as well as network analysis in order to describe and explain relocation patterns in Germany over time. We expect a steeper, not only global, but also regional hierarchy and interconnection between metropolitan regions in Germany and assume to find a more diversified, polycentric situation within these regions - compared to the first data collection in 2009.

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