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Industrial Diversity and Metropolitan Unemployment Rate


  • Fumitoshi Mizutani


  • Keizo Mizuno


  • Noriyoshi Nakayama



Although it has for years had a lower unemployment rate than other industrialized countries, Japan has begun to see an increase in unemployment since its economy was hit by the recession of the late 90?s. The level of a nation?s unemployment is commonly seen as a barometer of its economy?s health, so that Japan?s increased unemployment has worried the government and prompted it to consider several policy options. Unemployment rate in Japan varies by region. In general, while large metropolitan areas such as Tokyo have lower unemployment rates, smaller metropolitan areas have higher unemployment. Strangely, however, Osaka, the second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo, is suffering from a high unemployment rate. In October of 2002, the Kansai region including the Osaka metropolitan area recorded an unemployment rate of 7.2%, much higher than the average rate (5.5%). Theoretically, regional differentials of the unemployment rate are attributed to the friction resulting from adjusting for the mismatch between demand and supply of labor markets among regions. These frictional factors consist of the costs of information, moving, transactions related to housing, and psychological costs. Frictional components are important factors but are not all. Industrial structure differences also affect regional differentials of the unemployment rate. This paper investigated the relationship between unemployment rate and industrial structure in metropolitan areas, with the aim of testing the hypothesis that more industrially diversified metropolitan areas have lower unemployment rates. Previous studies have been done on the relationship between industrial diversity and unemployment rate but these do not provide concrete agreement because of the failure to control other factors affecting unemployment rate. This paper follows the theoretical justification of Simon (1988), who argues that industrial diversity attains a lower unemployment rate by assuming that the frictional component of employment fluctuations is a random variable and independent across industries. Because fluctuations are uncorrelated across industries, frictional hiring in some industries may coincide with frictional layoffs at others. Unemployed individuals can fill concurrently occurring vacancies. Therefore, the unemployment rate will be lower in the more industrially diverse metropolis. Simon?s empirical analysis of 91 large U.S. SMSAs strongly supports the hypothesis. In this study, we analyze 117 metropolitan areas in Japan for the year 1995. Because there is no authoritative definition of a metropolitan area in Japan, we began by defining metropolitan areas and collected data for each. As for a variable expressing industrial diversity, the Herfindahl index is used, which is made of both numbers of employments and numbers of firms for ten industrial classifications. Other factors used in this analysis are size of metropolitan areas, transportation conditions, unemployment insurance, average schooling length, and so on. The basic equation for the empirical analysis of the relationship between industrial diversity and metropolitan unemployment rate is as follows: Metropolitan unemployment rate = f (Herfindahl index (industrial diversity), metropolitan size, transportation conditions, unemployment insurance, average schooling length in metropolis) In addition to this analysis, we also analyze whether or not a higher location quotient shows a lower unemployment rate. In the preliminary analysis, we found there are negative relationships in almost all industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Fumitoshi Mizutani & Keizo Mizuno & Noriyoshi Nakayama, 2003. "Industrial Diversity and Metropolitan Unemployment Rate," ERSA conference papers ersa03p141, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa03p141

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Merlin M. Hackbart & Donald A. Anderson, 1975. "On Measuring Economic Diversification," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(4), pages 374-378.
    2. Oded Izraeli & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The effect of industrial diversity on state unemployment rate and per capita income," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 37(1), pages 1-14, February.
    3. Diamond, Charles A & Simon, Curtis J, 1990. "Industrial Specialization and the Returns to Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 175-201, April.
    4. John R. Kort, 1981. "Regional Economic Instability and Industrial Diversification in the U.S," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(4), pages 596-608.
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    Cited by:

    1. FU, Shihe & DONG, Xiaofang & CHAI, Guojun, 2010. "Industry specialization, diversification, churning, and unemployment in Chinese cities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 508-520, December.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:9:p:3039-:d:165990 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jing Chen, 2018. "Interpreting Economic Diversity as the Presence of Multiple Specializations," Working Papers Working Paper 2018-02, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    4. repec:eee:quaeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gnidchenko, Andrey, 2010. "Defragmentation of Economic Growth with a Focus on Diversification: Evidence from Russian Economy," MPRA Paper 27113, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:taf:apeclt:v:23:y:2016:i:7:p:520-525 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Shu-hen Chiang, 2009. "Location quotient and trade," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 43(2), pages 399-414, June.
    8. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:56:p:5686-5697 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fumitoshi Mizutani & Tomoyasu Tanaka & Noriyoshi Nakayama, 2015. "Estimation of optimal metropolitan size in Japan with consideration of social costs," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1713-1730, June.
    10. Shu-hen Chiang, 2009. "The effects of industrial diversification on regional unemployment in Taiwan: is the portfolio theory applicable?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 43(4), pages 947-962, December.
    11. Saheum Hong & Yu Xiao, 2016. "The Influence of Multiple Specializations on Economic Performance in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-16, September.
    12. Jing Chen, 2017. "Geographical Scale, Industrial Diversity and Regional Economic Stability," Working Papers Working Paper 2017-03, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    13. Steven Deller & Philip Watson, 2016. "Did Regional Economic Diversity Influence The Effects Of The Great Recession?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1824-1838, October.
    14. Jing Chen, 2018. "Economic Diversity and Regional Economic Performance: A Methodological Concern from Model Uncertainty," Working Papers Working Paper 2018-05, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    15. Joshua Drucker, 2009. "Trends in Regional Industrial Concentration in the United States," Working Papers 09-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    16. Randall Jackson, 2015. "Fellows Address: Are Industry Clusters and Diversity Strange Bedfellows?," Working Papers Working Paper 2015-04, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

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