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Urban occupational structures as information networks: The effect on network density of increasing number of occupations

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Listed:
  • Shade T Shutters
  • José Lobo
  • Rachata Muneepeerakul
  • Deborah Strumsky
  • Charlotta Mellander
  • Matthias Brachert
  • Teresa Farinha
  • Luis M A Bettencourt

Abstract

Urban economies are composed of diverse activities, embodied in labor occupations, which depend on one another to produce goods and services. Yet little is known about how the nature and intensity of these interdependences change as cities increase in population size and economic complexity. Understanding the relationship between occupational interdependencies and the number of occupations defining an urban economy is relevant because interdependence within a networked system has implications for system resilience and for how easily can the structure of the network be modified. Here, we represent the interdependencies among occupations in a city as a non-spatial information network, where the strengths of interdependence between pairs of occupations determine the strengths of the links in the network. Using those quantified link strengths we calculate a single metric of interdependence–or connectedness–which is equivalent to the density of a city’s weighted occupational network. We then examine urban systems in six industrialized countries, analyzing how the density of urban occupational networks changes with network size, measured as the number of unique occupations present in an urban workforce. We find that in all six countries, density, or economic interdependence, increases superlinearly with the number of distinct occupations. Because connections among occupations represent flows of information, we provide evidence that connectivity scales superlinearly with network size in information networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Shade T Shutters & José Lobo & Rachata Muneepeerakul & Deborah Strumsky & Charlotta Mellander & Matthias Brachert & Teresa Farinha & Luis M A Bettencourt, 2018. "Urban occupational structures as information networks: The effect on network density of increasing number of occupations," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(5), pages 1-14, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0196915
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196915
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rachata Muneepeerakul & José Lobo & Shade T Shutters & Andrés Goméz-Liévano & Murad R Qubbaj, 2013. "Urban Economies and Occupation Space: Can They Get “There” from “Here”?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(9), pages 1-8, September.
    2. Richard Florida & Charlotta Mellander & Kevin Stolarick, 2008. "Inside the black box of regional development: human capital, the creative class and tolerance," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(5), pages 615-649, September.
    3. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "Innovation and Growth in the Global Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570971, September.
    4. Jos� Lobo & Charlotta Mellander & Kevin Stolarick & Deborah Strumsky, 2014. "The Inventive, the Educated and the Creative: How Do They Affect Metropolitan Productivity?," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 155-177, February.
    5. Tomoya Mori & Koji Nishikimi & Tony E. Smith, 2008. "The Number‐Average Size Rule: A New Empirical Relationship Between Industrial Location And City Size," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 165-211, February.
    6. Stokey, Nancy L, 1988. "Learning by Doing and the Introduction of New Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 701-717, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Galetti, Jefferson Ricardo Bretas & Tessarin, Milene Simone & Morceiro, Paulo César, 2020. "Local, Complementarity and Similarity Relatedness in Different Regional and Sectoral Contexts," TD NEREUS 12-2020, Núcleo de Economia Regional e Urbana da Universidade de São Paulo (NEREUS).

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