50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
Both national and regional studies of economic change are often depending on aggregated variables such as GDP levels, wages or population development. In this paper I will discuss how data concerning individual firms can be used in studying regional economic change. This material can also be used to shed light in differences regarding male and female entrepreneurship in a regional and historical perspective. The paper will focus on how different types of data and databases can be used and linked together in order to shed more light on the regional economic development. Therefore this paper will have a more explorative character rather then trying to answer any hypothesis. The point of departure will be how the Census of Enterprises can be used in studying regional economic change and how his material can be linked to other databases such as the Housing and population census. The Census of Enterprises was conducted in Sweden on three occasions in 1931, 1951 and 1972. From these studies one can analyse questions regarding firm size, capital intensity, differences regarding male and entrepreneurship and how this develops over time in different regions. Finally, a discussion will be in the paper on how the structure and changing composition of enterprises on a regional level can be linked to other variables such as regional population- and employment development and regional GDP development. By studying the micro-level, (firm level) and looking at questions concerning entrepreneurship, adaptation to technology and globalisation hopefully more can be said about the mechanism behind different development in different regions.