UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Regional differences in the structure and growth of manufacturing in British Columbia Nesbitt, James George


This study provides an inventory of the manufacturing activity of British Columbia, and of its major statistical areal divisions, for 1967. In addition figures are presented pertaining to changes in manufacturing structure between 1961 and 1967. The collection of these data has three purposes: to describe in a comprehensive manner the nature of manufacturing in British Columbia and the differences in manufacturing activity from one part of the province to another; to offer explanations for the structure of manufacturing of the province and for differences in industry distribution among the regions; and, by using a theoretical framework, to indicate regional differences in the level of industrial development suggested by variation in industry structure. Economic base and location theories are the basis for a model providing a framework within which data on industrial activity can be presented. The model recognizes a relationship between the types of manufacturing industry in a region and the level of industrial development or complexity of the region. The model identifies five types of manufacturing: primary processing (industries which typically locate near the source of their raw materials), localized (the relatively ubiquitous, market-oriented industries), linked industries (defined as being dependent on the primary sectors for markets or materials), import substituting industries (sporadic, market-oriented activities which compete with industries in other regions for the local market) and consumer and producer goods industries (which supply the local market while at the same time selling a large proportion of goods externally). The model suggests that regions with the lowest level of industrial development have representation only in the primary processing industries. More complex regions have some of the relatively ubiquitous market-oriented industries as well. Much of the manufacturing in highly developed regions consists of the sporadic types of market-oriented activities. Manufacturing data published by the federal government, while judged the most comprehensive and reliable, were nevertheless found to be very incomplete particularly at the sub-provincial scale. As a result they have been supplemented by estimated figures. The complete range of data, including estimates, is contained in this thesis. In the interpretive part of the thesis, industries are allocated to one of the types identified by the model. Primary processing industries are first of all identified, and the others are allocated to the remaining types primarily according to the nature of their markets. Based on the percentage of manufacturing activity accounted for by each of the types of industry, the province and the regions are assigned to "stages" of manufacturing development. Furthermore an examination of growth performances of the various types of manufacturing gives an impression as to whether a region's industrial structure is advancing in its complexity. It is discovered that in relation to the rest of the province, the Lower Mainland has an advanced manufacturing structure. The other census divisions are in general much more highly dependent on resource processing activities. This is consistent with a heartland-hinterland model of the British Columbia economy. It is found, however, that within the hinterland there were significant variations in manufacturing structure in 1967. Moreover based on growth patterns during the 1961-1967 period some hinterland regions seem to be attracting more advanced types of manufacturing, while others appear to be experiencing no diversification or even increasing dependence on primary processing.

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