Delineating functional labour market areas with estimable classification stabilities

David Maré; Benjamin Davies

Abstract – Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

This paper describes a method for delineating functional labour market areas (LMAs) in national commuting networks. Identifying functional, rather than administrative, LMAs is important for analysing spatial patterns of economic activity. Functional boundaries capture the geography of interactions among employers and employees, whereas administrative boundaries typically ignore such interactions. By construction, functionally-defined LMAs are largely self-contained, and thus represent an obvious unit of analysis for studies of local labour markets. The self-containment also reduces the impact of the modifiable areal unit problem. The researchers demonstrate the method using historical Census commuting data from New Zealand.

Articles associated with this research – Karere Tūhono

News: Defining functional labour market geography

2 October 2020: Building Better Thriving Regions researchers Dr Dave Maré and Ben Davies have been delving into the nitty gritty of how to define the geography of interactions between employers and employees, and have recently published a methodology on how to define ‘functional labour market areas’. >> Read More.

Keywords – Kupu Hāngai

labour market areas, modifiable areal unit problem, labour market geography, transport, commuting, labour markets, Louvain algorithm

Fields of Research – Āpure Rangahau

Transport; Urban/Spatial Planning; Infrastructure; Labour Market Geography


Date – Te Wā Whakarewa



Type – Te Auaha


Citation – Kupu Hautoa

Maré, D. & Davies, B. (2020). Delineating functional labour market areas with estimable classification stabilities. Motu Working Paper 20-08 for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Thriving Regions. September 2020, 24pgs. Wellington: Motu.