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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

Big Plant Closures and Agglomeration Economies


This paper analyses the effects of large manufacturing plant closures on local employment. Specifically, we estimate the net employment effects of the closure of 45 large manufacturing plants in Spain, which relocated abroad between 2001 and 2006. We run differences-in-differences specifications in which locations that experience a closure are matched to locations with similar pre-treatment employment levels and trends. The results show that when a plant closes, for each job directly lost in the plant closure, between 0.3 and 0.6 jobs are actually lost in the local economy. The adjustment is concentrated in incumbent firms in the industry that suffered the closure, providing indirect evidence of labor market pooling effects. We find no employment effects in the rest of manufacturing industries or in the services sectors. These findings suggest that traditional input-output analyses tend to overstate the net employment losses of large plant closures.


Jordi Jofri-Monseny, Maria Sánchez-Vidal and Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal

13 July 2015     Paper Number SERCDP0179

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.