Regional economic activity Industrial policy Spatial distribution
Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Gleeson, Anne-Marie et al. 'Public policy, sectoral specialisation and spatial concentration: Irish manufacturing 1985-2002'. - Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland,Vol. XXXV, 2005/2006, pp110-150
Journal of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland Vol. XXXV 2005/2006
For over fifty years Ireland has pursued an industrial policy that has had at its core
the generation of sustainable manufacturing jobs spread across all regions of the country.
From the late 1980s the emphasis on sustainability has increasingly been reflected in the
promotion of new and expanding projects in high-tech sectors, while from the late 1990s the
regional dimension of policy has been reflected in attempts to create strong manufacturing
centres in the regions rather than the regional spread of projects. This paper examines the
progress made between 1985 and 2002 in achieving greater sectoral specialisation and spatial
dispersion in Irish manufacturing. The analysis focuses separately on multinational
enterprises (MNEs) and local enterprises (LEs), and distinguishes two time periods – 1985-
1993 and 1993-2002. Net changes in employment at an abridged NACE 2-digit level are used
to measure sectoral change and NUTS-2 and NUTS-3 regions are used to examine regional
changes. Hirschman-Herfindahl indices are employed to measure changes in spatial
concentration by sector and sectoral specialisation by county in three-year sub-periods. We
find increasing sectoral and spatial concentration of MNE employment, but more spatially
dispersed and less sectoral concentration of LE employment over the period. Additionally, we examine the co-location patterns of MNEs and LEs using correlation coefficients at spatial and sectoral levels, and also at county levels. At national level there is evidence of some
degree of spatial separation between MNEs and LEs and a high and increasing level of
sectoral dualism between MNEs and LEs in Irish manufacturing. However, at county level
we find a wide variation in the patterns of co-location by sector.
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