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Agglomeration, Interorganizational Networks, and Competitive Performance in the U.S. Metalworking Sector

Stephen J. Appold
Economic Geography
Vol. 71, No. 1, Collaboration and Competition in Geographical Context (Jan., 1995), pp. 27-54
Published by: Clark University
DOI: 10.2307/144434
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/144434
Page Count: 28
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Agglomeration, Interorganizational Networks, and Competitive Performance in the U.S. Metalworking Sector
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Abstract

Some commentators maintain that location in an area with ample suppliers results in agglomeration economies that enhance the performance of firms and, therefore, their attractiveness to distant customers, by facilitating interfirm collaboration. This assertion, however, lacks solid empirical support. I first review the theoretical arguments concerning the effect of agglomeration on firm performance and then test the theory using distance to principal customer as an indicator of performance. This indicator is grounded in spatial economics and is closely tied to current policy discussions. Using a national random sample of almost one thousand metalworking plants, I find that collaborative manufacturing enhances establishment performance. Firms located in agglomerations are not, however, competitively advantaged.

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