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Working paper
Stephen B. Billings, Erik B. Johnson

2010/40: A nonparametric test for industrial specialization

We introduce a nonparametric microdata based test for industrial specialization and apply it to a single urban area. Our test employs establishment densities for specific industries, a population counterfactual, and a new correction for multiple hypothesis testing to determine the statistical significance of specialization across both places and industries. Results highlight patterns of specialization which are extremely varied, with downtown places specializing in a number of service sector industries, while more suburban places specialize in both manufacturing and service industries. Business service industries are subject to more specialization than non-business service industries while the manufacturing sector contains the lowest representation of industries with specialized places. Finally, we compare the results of our test for specialization with recent tests of localization and show how these two classes of measures highlight the presence of both industry as well as place specific agglomerative forces.

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