Edited by Philip McCann
Piet H. Pellenbarg, Leo J.G. van Wissen and Jouke van Dijk University of Groningen, The Netherlands 1. INTRODUCTION Due to changes in markets, consumer preferences, environmental regulations, technological progress and so on, ﬁrms are constantly adjusting to new situations. This process very often also has a spatial dimension. Characteristics of the spatial environment of a ﬁrm may change over time, but internal changes in addition may lead to other locational preferences. Firm migration is a particular form of locational adjustment. Here, we deﬁne it as a ﬁrm’s change of address from location A to location B. This deﬁnition is most suited for small and medium-sized single-plant ﬁrms, but less so for multiplant ﬁrms and large enterprises. A very simple case is that of a growing ﬁrm facing the problem that the present building is too small to host all its activities. Moving to another building is then an obvious solution. For large enterprises locational adjustment usually involves the restructuring of the spatial layout of activities that are spread out over multiple locations. These complex events can only partially be labelled as migration. Often, the migration component is but one element in a mix that also includes closing down, merging and splitting off business units of the enterprise. All these events are taken into account in a demographic approach to ﬁrm dynamics that has gained popularity in recent years (Van Dijk and Pellenbarg, 2000a). This approach, which is studied by geographers, sociologists and economists, is called, variously, industrial demography,...
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