Service Research and the Seattle Paradigm: A Transatlantic Perspective
University College London - Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences - Department of Geography
April 14, 2011
Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers, April 2011
Bill Beyers pioneered US studies of regional service economies from the 1970s, although I guess that he did not set out to do so. His interests were first based on a deep commitment to the study of his home state of Washington. Secondly, although his background was in the theoretical revolution dominating geography in the 1950-60s, he was always most fascinated by empirical evidence, however imperfect, about what is actually happening to regions in response to wider change. Thirdly, he set about addressing evidence deficiencies in Washington by developing an input-output framework to monitor sectoral activities and inter-relationships. Finally, this allowed him to place firm-based evidence into a structural context, a discipline that even today is rare in regional studies. These approaches produced many insights, but those relating to the growing importance of service functions, in an economy previously viewed as largely dependent on primary and secondary production, had perhaps the widest significance. Producer and other services did not just support materials processing, but also increasingly earned basic income from the rest of the USA and even abroad. More recently, Bill’s research has returned to what is now termed the ‘creative’ economy, with an internal social division of labor as complex as any of the production systems he has elucidated over the years. This paper reviews European developments in business service research in the light of the sterling example set by Beyers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Business services, Beyers, Washington State, Europe, regional economies
JEL Classification: B13, C67, D21, L8, 018, R11
Date posted: December 31, 2011 ; Last revised: January 3, 2012
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