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Technological Diversification of U.S. Cities during the Great Historical Crises

Author

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  • Mathieu Steijn
  • Pierre-Alexandre Balland
  • Ron Boschma
  • David Rigby

Abstract

Regional resilience is high on the scientific and policy agenda. An essential feature of resilience is diversifying into new activities. But, little is known about whether major economic crises accelerate or decelerate regional diversification, and whether the impact differs between specialised and diverse regions. This paper offers systematic evidence on the effects of three of the largest crises in U.S. history (the Long Depression 1873-1879, the Great Depression 1929-1934, and the Oil Crisis 1973-1975) on the development of new technological capabilities within U.S. metropolitan areas. We find that crises reduce the pace of diversification in cities and that they narrow the scope of diversification to more closely related activities. We also find that more diverse cities outperform more specialised cities in diversifying during times of crisis but more diverse cities do not have a stronger focus on less related diversification during these unsettled times.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathieu Steijn & Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Ron Boschma & David Rigby, 2019. "Technological Diversification of U.S. Cities during the Great Historical Crises," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1901, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jan 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1901
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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg1901.pdf
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    Keywords

    Technological diversification; regional resilience; major historical crises; related diversification; U.S. cities; entry of technologies; patents;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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