No. 151. DERIVING THE LABOR MARKET AREAS OF GREECE FROM COMMUTING FLOWS (II)
P. Prodromídis. 2017. (in Greek)
Written as a follow-up to item #99 of the same series, the paper looks into the deliberations taking place among national statistics offices in the EU about the determination of Labor Market Areas (LMAs) across the member states; reviews and discusses potential weaknesses of the Greek travel-to-work data solicited from 6,132 low level local authority units (LAU 2) during the 2011 census; and attempts to delineate the Greek LMAs on the basis of travel-to-work flows via an iterative process of grouping in a consistent manner the country’s LAU 2s at the incoming and outgoing commuting thresholds of 25, 20, 15 and 10%. It imposes (a) no density, contiguity, maximum or minimum size restrictions or asymmetric thresholds for it is sceptical as to which might be the right one and on what grounds; and (b) no relaxation of the criteria in attempting to integrate ungrouped localities, as that would produce LMA-like formations with different labor-market-related diffusion levels compared to the rest. In a handful of cases with equal incoming and/or outgoing commuting thresholds from/to two or more LAU 2s (all involving small villages), the integrations are carried out on the basis of the highest absolute number of incomers or outgoers, and if the latter are equal then the integrations are carried out on the basis of spatial proximity. As no foreign travel-to-work origin or destination was solicited, no trans-border commuting area is calculated.
Map 1 supplies the LMAs recovered at the commuting threshold of 25%: Athens and Thessaloniki with working populations of 1.4464 million and 372.3 thousand, respectively; 58 places with working populations of 5-100 thousand (each), another 142 places with over a thousand, 170 places with over 500 hundred, 3,285 places with labor demand and supply features associated with the presence of smaller working populations, and 15 places have no working inhabitant. Of these, Athens spans 4.6 thousand km2, Thessaloniki 4.2 thousand km2, Ioannina 3.0 thousand km2, while the rest are smaller. Maps 2 and 3 supply the LMAs recovered at the thresholds of 20 and 15%, respectively, and Map 4 supplies the LMAs recovered at the threshold of 10%. These are Athens and Thessaloniki with working populations of 1.5459 million and 488.7 thousand, respectively; 59 places with 5-100 thousand (each), another 58 places with over a thousand, 42 places with over 500 hundred, 740 places with smaller working populations, and 15 places feature no working inhabitant. Of these, Thessaloniki spans 13.7 thousand km2, Athens 11.6, Larisa 4.7, Ioannina 4.6, Drama 3.2, Patras and Trikala 3.0 (each), while the rest are smaller. It goes without saying that a good number of shapes may change in the months and years to come, as several segments of the motor- and rail-way network are near completion.
Maps 6 and 7 compare the shapes recovered at the thresholds of 15 and 10%, respectively, with the outlines of the country’s subregional administrative divisions (i.e., the spatial framework within which the country’s economic development and social cohesion policies are devised and evaluated). To the extent the two diverge, and the LMAs serve as proxies of the functional division of the country, there is room for better targeted policy interventions. Τhe paper also estimates measures of functional economic fragmentation for the country’s districts in terms of (a) the number of LMAs recovered at the 10% threshold divided by the number of LAU 2s, the applicable acreage, the number of resident workers; and (b) the product of the uncorrelated (or residual) components of all three. The districts of Evritania, Lakonia, Ikaria and Fourni islands, Ithaca, Naxos Thesprotia and Preveza top the list: The first is mountainous and landlocked, the second is mountainous and with a large fjord-like coastline, the other three are insular, the latter two are situated on the western side of continental Greece. To the extent (i) districts like Halkidiki and Western Attica constitute parts of much larger LMAs, districts like Fokis and Imathia are split into two or three LMAs, districts like Evritania, Lakonia, Ikaria and Fourni, Ithaca, the Cyclades, are very fragmented; (ii) diffusions patterns in substantial tracts of the country very much diverge from the conventional administrative divisions, the effectiveness of policy intervention run along administrative lines is subordinate to that which would occur if it were targeted along functional lines.