The Department of Geography was well represented at the 60th North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) held in Atlanta, from November 13 to 16.
This international conference brings together researchers in regional sciences from around the globe.,Cedric Brunelle and Alvin Simms presented at the conference, as well as Dr. David Freshwater (University of Kentucky), one of ouradjunct professors.
Drs. Freshwater and Simms jointly presented a paper on the factors affecting productivity in local labor markets in Atlantic Canada. Their research represents an important contribution to the understanding the roots of regional competitiveness in a context of changing commodity prices. The paper examines the crucial question of how regions can improve productivity, since it is a main driver of economic growth, especially in those regions where simply increasing the number of workers is unlikely. In a simple microeconomic sense differences in productivity among regions reflect variations in costs and the quality of factors of production that alter the competitive position of firms, and hence regions. In this case productivity is a key factor in models of economic growth where it is used as a measure of technological change or economic dynamism.
With his colleague Jean Dubé from UQAR, Dr. Brunelle presented both a general method for the creation of local specialization and diversity indices as well as an analysis of the factors determining the survival of individual firms in low density regions. Their research highlighted the influence of economic ties between firms on the probability of survival, but also the role played by the business structure of firms. These studies have also earned the two authors, last summer, the best paper award at the European Regional Science Association of the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum.
Participation at this conference was made possible through the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Photo (L to R): David Freshwater, Cedric Brunelle, Alvin Simms