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From Mass Production to Flexible Specialization: The Sectoral and Geographical Extent of Contract Work in US Manufacturing, 1963-1997

Listed author(s):
  • Jurgen Essletzbichler
Registered author(s):

    E SSLETZBICHLER J. (2003) From mass production to flexible specialization: the sectoral and geographical extent of contract work in US manufacturing, 1963-1997, Reg. Studies 37 , 753-771. Over the last two decades much work in economic geography focused on a fundamental reorganization of capitalist production summarized as shift from Fordist mass production to flexible specialization. Complementing this shift to flexible forms of production is the revival of interest in Marshallian industrial districts characterized by geographically localized and tightly linked networks of small firms. Many a claim was based on anecdotal evidence in selected industries and regions. In order to strengthen the importance of these results, it is necessary to provide comprehensive empirical evidence across a broad range of sectors and regions. This paper traces the key developments in economic geography and examines empirically the extent of flexible specialization in US manufacturing. More specifically the paper focuses on one aspect of this shift and investigates the increase in contract work across all US manufacturing sectors and regions between 1963 and 1997. Employing plant level data for US manufacturing industries, this paper emphasizes the significance of the shift to flexible specialization supported by an increase in the use of contract work across a vast majority of manufacturing sectors, states and metropolitan areas. The paper also demonstrates that pronounced industrial differences prevail and that high contract work ratios explain metropolitan differences in productivity in some but not all sectors. E SSLETZBICHLER J. (2003) De la fabrication en serie a la specialisation flexible: les portees sectorielle et geographique de la prestation de service dans l'industrie aux E-U de 1963 a 1997, Reg. Studies 37 , 753- 771. Depuis deux decennies, la geographie economique a porte dans une large mesure sur une restructuration fondamentale du systeme capitalistique. En bref, il s'agissait d'un deplacement de la fabrication en serie du type Fordiste a la specialisation flexible. Allant de pair avec ce deplacement est un regain de l'interet pour les districts industriels selon Marshall et qui se caracte risent par des reseaux de petites entreprises localisees sur le plan geographique et bien relies. On a affirme de nombreuses choses selon des sources non confirmees provenant des industries et des regions selectionnees. Afin de consolider l'importance de ces resultats, il faut fournir des preuves empiriques plus de taillees a travers un eventail de secteurs et de regions large. Cet article cherche a esquisser les developpements cles dans le domaine de la geographie economique et a examiner de facon empirique la portee de la specialisation flexible dans l'industrie aux E-U. Plus particulierement, cet article porte sur un aspect de ce deplacement et examine la croissance de la prestation de service a travers tous les secteurs industriels et toutes les regions aux E- U entre 1963 et 1997. A partir des donnees aupres des e tablissements industriels aux E-U, cet article souligne l'importance du deplacement pour la specialisation flexible, soutenu par un accroissement de la prestation de service a travers la plupart des secteurs industriels, des etats et des zones metropolitaines. Cet article demontre aussi que des ecarts industriels non-negligeables persistent et que l'importance de la prestation de service explique les ecarts de productivite metropolitains dans quelques-uns des secteurs. E SSLETZBICHLER J. (2003) Von Massenproduktion zu flexibler Spezialisierung: das sektorale und geographische Ausmass von Kontraktarbeit in der herstellen Industrie der USA im Zeitraum 1963-1997, Reg. Studies 37 , 753-771. Im Laufe der letzten zwanzig Jahre haben sich in der Wirtschafts-geographie viele Arbeiten mit der grundlegenden Neuorganisation kapitalistischer Produktion beschaftigt, die unter dem Begriff der Umstellung von Fordscher Massenproduktion auf flexible Spezialisierung zusammengefasst wird. Diese Umstellung auf flexible Formen der Produktion geht Hand in Hand mit einem wieder auflebenden Interesse an Marshallschen Industriegebieten, das hauptsachlich von geographisch begrenzten und eng vernetzten Kleinfirmen bestimmt wird. Viele der dafur erhobenen Anspruche beruhten auf anekdotenhaften Beweisen in ausgewahlten Industrien und Gebieten. Um die Bedeutung dieser Ergebnisse zu unterstreichen, ist es notig, umfassende empirische Beweise eines weit gefacherten Bereichs von Sektoren und Regionen anzufuhren. Dieser Aufsatz verfolgt die wichtigsten Entwicklungen in der Wirtschaftsgeographie und untersucht empirisch das Ausmass flexibler Spezialisierung in der herstellenden Industrie der US. Der Aufsatz richtet sein Augenmerk ganz besonders auf einen bestimmten Aspekt dieser Umstellung, in dem er die Zunahme von Kontraktauftragen in allen sektoren der herstellenden Industrie der US im Zeitraum 1963-1997 untersucht. Mit Hilfe von Daten auf Fabrikebene fur herstellende Industrien in den USA betont der Aufsatz die Bedeutung der Umstellung auf flexible Spezialisierung, die durch Zunahme des Einsatzes von Kontraktarbeit in den meisten herstellenden Sektoren, Staaten und Grossstadtgebieten bestatigt wird. Daruberhinaus zeigt der Aufsatz, dass ausgesprochene industrielle Unterschiede vorherrschen, und dass hohe Kontraktauftragsraten gross stadtisch Produktionsunterschiede in einigen, doch nicht allen Sektoren erkla ren.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Regional Studies.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 8 ()
    Pages: 753-771

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:37:y:2003:i:8:p:753-771
    DOI: 10.1080/0034340032000128695
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