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Regional Economic Diversity: Action, Concept, or State of Confusion

  • Wagner, John E.
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    Economic diversity has been promoted as a means to achieve the goals of stability and growth. However, the link between diversity, diversification and economic performance depends on the differences, both conceptually and empirically, between diversity and diversification. Unfortunately, the literature contains varying definitions of diversity and diversification. I propose two key points in defining diversity. First, it is a static concept. Second, it examines the size, the presence of multiple specializations, and the linkages present among industries within a region’s economy. A brief review of diversity measures is used to discuss measuring diversity relative to some standard, as an explanatory variable in examining growth and stability, and other issues. No one diversity measure is critique free; care should be taken when using a diversity measure as the only factor in a policy designed to change the structure of a region’s economy, given the goals of growth and stability.

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    Article provided by Mid-Continent Regional Science Association in its journal Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy.

    Volume (Year): 30 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()

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    Handle: RePEc:ags:jrapmc:132170
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    1. David W. Hughes & David W. Holland, 1994. "Core-Periphery Economic Linkage: A Measure of Spread and Possible Backwash Effects for the Washington Economy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(3), pages 364-377.
    2. Deller, Steven C. & Chicoine, David L., 1989. "Economic Diversification and the Rural Economy: Evidence from Consumer Behavior," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 19(2).
    3. David L. Barkley & Mark S. Henry & Shuming Bao, 1996. "Identifying "Spread" versus "Backwash" Effects in Regional Economic Areas: A Density Functions Approach," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(3), pages 336-357.
    4. Waters, Edward C. & Holland, David W. & Weber, Bruce A., 1994. "Interregional Effects Of Reduced Timber Harvests: The Impact Of The Northern Spotted Owl Listing In Rural And Urban Oregon," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 19(01), July.
    5. John R. Kort, 1981. "Regional Economic Instability and Industrial Diversification in the U.S," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(4), pages 596-608.
    6. Michael J. Wasylenko & Rodney A. Erickson, 1978. ""On Measuring Economic Diversification": Comment," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(1), pages 106-109.
    7. Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 1998. "original: Spatial perspectives on new theories of economic growth," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 7-37.
    8. John E. Wagner & Steven C. Deller, 1998. "Measuring the Effects of Economic Diversity on Growth and Stability," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 74(4), pages 541-556.
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