DISCERNING Intra-Metropolitan Patterns of Producer Service Establishment Location using Geographic Information Systems
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The research presented in this dissertation explores the spatial distribution of producer service establishments in the Washington DC area for 1997. Producer services are a distinct and important segment of the US industrial economy. These businesses provide the intermediary goods and services that are used as inputs for many other industrial sectors. Producer service employment and sales have grown substantially during the 1990s in relation to other portions of the overall US economy, surpassing growth in most sectors including other types of services. The majority of producer service research tends to focus on these services at the national scale or comparative studies of whole metropolitan areas. This work presents the findings for two complementary producer service research problems pertinent to intra-metropolitan spatial scale research, the contribution of face-to-face interaction to the spatial concentration of these services using sales between particular producer services, and the entropy (or diversity) of services within postal code areas and how this measure correlates to the presence or absence of particular producer services. The findings indicate that there is empirical evidence of a relationship between the strength of intra-sector trade and the degree of spatial concentration of producer service establishments. This analysis also demonstrates that some producer service sectors known to have weak trade relations to other producer services do locate in areas with a lower diversity of services. The results of this research add to a growing body of research and theory that centers on interpreting the role of producer services in shaping metropolitan economies. The spatial component of producer service establishment location in research is often neglected entirely or is superficially referenced. This geographic research provides the spatial dimension of producer service activities occurring at very fine scales within a metropolitan spatial economy. The results are only applicable to the study area but the methodology is useful and offers a potential for broader utility in producer service research endeavors.