Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Department of Public Administration, Korea University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1998
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Urban Planning, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Does Geographical Proximity Matter? The Spatial Dynamics of the Japanese and South Korean Automobile Industry

The proposed dissertation challenges the post-Fordist hypothesis of emerging geographical proximity. In contra t to the post-Fordist focus on production systems, I argue that firms make locational decisions in the context of institutional configurations populated by multiple actors. I construct a four stage evolutionary theory of industrial location patterns for high volume/durable goods industries in late industrializing countries with developmental states. In the first stage, spontaneous market-based import substitution generates the first round of suppliers, which favor metropolitan locations. Second, in the state-led industrial development stage, the state's industrial promotion policy concentrates on existing large assembly and supplier firms which implicitly favors continued production in the major metropolitan area. However, regional development policies explicitly induce new entrants to locate in peripheral regions. In the third stage, assemblers opting for single sourcing and cooperative supplier relationships are more likely to attract small parts suppliers to locate near their assembly plants. Yet, in spite of the assemblers' efforts to achieve spatial proximity, adversarial business relations, labor management relations, and labor shortages discourage geographical proximity between assemblers and suppliers. Finally, in the fourth stage as the companies globalize, the assemblers' transplant strategy diminishes interfirm organizational linkages to their domestic suppliers, undermining the advantages of geographical proximity between the assemblers and their domestic suppliers. I will conduct a comparative study of the sequential locational calculus of five assembly firms-Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai, Daewoo,-and their suppliers, utilizing survey research, interviews, site visits, and longitudinal data.