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Labour mobility, related variety and the performance of plants: A Swedish study

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  • Ron Boschma

    ()

  • Rikard Eriksson

    ()

  • Urban Lindgren

    ()

Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of skill portfolios and labour mobility on plant performance by means of a unique database that connects attributes of individuals to features of plants for the whole Swedish economy. We found that a portfolio of related competences at the plant level increases significantly productivity growth of plants, in contrast to plant portfolios consisting of either similar or unrelated competences. Based on the analysis of 101,093 job moves, we found that inflows of skills that are related to the existing knowledge base of the plant had a positive effect on plant performance, while the inflow of new employees with skills that are already present in the plant had a negative impact. Our analyses show that inflows of unrelated skills only contribute positively to plant performance when these are recruited in the same region. Labour mobility across regions only has a positive effect on productivity growth of plants when this concerns new employees with related skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Boschma & Rikard Eriksson & Urban Lindgren, 2008. "Labour mobility, related variety and the performance of plants: A Swedish study," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0809, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised May 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0809
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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg0809.pdf
    File Function: Version May 2008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles, 2006. "Labour pooling, labour poaching, and spatial clustering," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-28, January.
    2. Scott, Allen J., 1999. "Regions and the World Economy: The Coming Shape of Global Production, Competition, and Political Order," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296584.
    3. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman & James B. Rebitzer, 2006. "Job-Hopping in Silicon Valley: Some Evidence Concerning the Microfoundations of a High-Technology Cluster," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 472-481, August.
    4. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-185, March.
    5. Dahl, Michael S. & Pedersen, Christian O.R., 2004. "Knowledge flows through informal contacts in industrial clusters: myth or reality?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1673-1686, December.
    6. Cooper, David P., 2001. "Innovation and reciprocal externalities: information transmission via job mobility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 403-425, August.
    7. 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.
    8. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Ron A. Boschma & Rik Wenting, 2004. "The spatial evolution of the British automobile industry," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0504, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2004.
    10. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2003. "Mobility and Social Networks: Localised Knowledge Spillovers Revisited," KITeS Working Papers 142, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2003.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    labour mobility; related variety; skill portfolio; plant performance; geographical proximity;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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