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Working through Knowledge Pools: Labour Market Dynamics, the Transference of Knowledge and Ideas, and Industrial Clusters

Author

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  • Dominic Power

    (Department of Social and Economic Geography, Centre for Research on Innovation and Industrial Dynamics, Uppsala University, Box 513, S-75120 Uppsala, Sweden, power@kultgeog.uu.se)

  • Mats Lundmark

    (Human Geography and Department of Social Sciences, Orebro University, SE-701 82 Orebro, Sweden, mats.lundmark@sam.oru.se)

Abstract

This article explores a prominent cluster in the Swedish capital Stockholm and its surrounding region: the ICT (information and communications technology) cluster. In particular, the article focuses on the issue of the extent to which labour market and labour mobility are the most likely channels for local and extra-local sources of knowledge and ideas. Thus the article positions itself against a growing literature that focuses on rather diffuse and vague notions that knowledge and innovation reside 'in the air' or in the 'buzz' of urban life. Instead, the underlying hypothesis is that in many sectors and industries such things as a cosmopolitan street life or accidental face-to-face encounters play relatively little part in the flow of experiences, knowledge and innovation. Rather, it is in the workplace that these exchanges and flows are located and it is thus through labour mobility that intracluster exchanges occur. The article tests such ideas in relation to the ICT cluster and the Stockholm region using a uniquely detailed time-series data-set. The data-set used is based on official taxation and civil registration records and contains complete details on everything from education to career changes to income levels for every individual resident in Sweden. The detail of the individual records and the complete nature of the data-set mean that it offers a unique possibility to examine, on a large scale, the micro dynamics of individuals in the labour market and in clusters. The data are used to examine whether there have existed over time higher levels of labour market mobility in clusters as opposed to the rest of the urban economy. The article empirically verifies the idea that labour market mobility is significantly higher in the cluster than in the rest of the urban economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominic Power & Mats Lundmark, 2004. "Working through Knowledge Pools: Labour Market Dynamics, the Transference of Knowledge and Ideas, and Industrial Clusters," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 41(5-6), pages 1025-1044, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:41:y:2004:i:5-6:p:1025-1044
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