Juan R. Cuadrado-Roura

Service industries and regional analysis. New directions and challenges

The service sector currently accounts for the largest share, both in terms of GDP and employment, of all developed economies, as well as many of the so-called emerging or developing ones. In spite of this, it has been the subject of far less research than manufacturing, although the situation has started to change in the past three decades and it must be pointed out that some activities —such as finance, commerce, transport and those most closely linked to tourism— do have significant analytical literature. In any case, this sector is undergoing very notable changes deriving from new technologies and the progress of digitalization, as well as economic globalization, in which services are playing a particularly relevant role. These changes demand specific and in-depth analyses to explain their causes and to understand their spatial and territorial effects. The objective of this work is to underscore the need for greater research effort focusing on the regional and urban aspects of services, and to suggest certain facts and trends that seem particularly relevant. Undoubtedly, services should occupy a privileged position in the new frontiers of Regional and Urban Analysis. This work aims to justify that need and pose some topics of interest for new research.

Keywords: Service sector; growth factors; location and concentration; ICT and digitalization; research agenda

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