Huang, Xiaoyan (2014-08). U.S. Metropolitan Spatial Structure and Employment Growth. Doctoral Dissertation. | Thesis individual record
abstract

This study explores the influence of US metropolitan spatial structure evolution on regional employment growth rate. The first part of this study investigates the evolution of US metropolitan spatial structures from 2000 to 2010. At the macro level, I categorized metropolitan areas (metros) into three groups (i.e., monocentric, polycentric, and coreless) based on the number of employment centers these metros had in 2000 and 2010. At the micro level, I sub-grouped the three macro spatial structure groups into micro-level clusters based on each metro's rank of employment shares in five sub-metro locations: the main-center, sub-centers, non-center clusters, non-cluster urban areas, and rural areas. The results show that (1) among 361 US metros, over 80 percent of metros remained in their original macro spatial structure type, and (2) less than 10 percent of metros experienced employment decentralization.

The second part of this study explores the influence of spatial structure evolution on regional growth rate. At the macro level, a series of two-sample t-tests showed that the group of monocentric metros that remained monocentric had no significant difference in employment growth rate from the group of monocentric metros that evolved to be polycentric. Conversely, the group of polycentric metros that remained polycentric had a higher employment growth rate than the group of polycentric metros that evolved to be monocentric. At the micro level, a regression analysis showed that the initial sub-centers' employment share had a larger positive effect on regional employment growth rate than the initial main-center employment share, while the change in non-cluster urban areas' employment share had a larger negative effect on regional employment growth rate than the change in the non-center clusters' employment share.

The main conclusions from this dissertation are that (1) employment decentralization from the main-center to sub-centers increases regional employment growth rate, whereas employment dispersion -- employment migration from centers (i.e., main-center and sub-centers) to non-centers (i.e., non-center clusters, non-cluster urban areas, and rural areas) - decreases regional employment growth rate, and (2) metros' macro and micro spatial structure types were relatively stable over the study period.

etd chair
publication date
2014