Economic Geography Glossary



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Factor of Production

the input or resource which is combined with other factors of production in a production process to produce a good or service. [also see: Healey & Ilberry: Ch.4 (pp.45ff.)]

Fertility rates:

  1. Births per 1000 (with increasing compositional specificity of underlying population)
    1. Crude Birth Rate: Number of life births per 1000 population (male + female) in a given year
    2. General Fertility Rate (GFR): Number of life births per 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 (during a given year).
    3. Age-Specific Fertility Rates: Number of births to women of a certain age (or age group e.g. 20-24) per 1000 women of that age (group).
    4. Age- and number-of-past-children-specific birth probabilities [see James M. Beshers, "Birth Projections with Cohort Models," Demography, Vol. 2. (1965), pp. 593-599.]

  2. Births per (average) Female
    1. Total Fertility Rate (TFR): (Cross-sectional Aggregation:) Average number of children that would be born alive to a women (or group of women) during her lifetime if she were to pass through all her childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates of a given year.
    2. Completed Fertility Rate (CFR): (Longitudinal Aggregation:) Number of children actually born per woman in a cohort of women by the end of their childbearing years (normally, women why are 45 or over are considered to have completed their childbearing years. In other countries, this end-year is often set at 49)
see also Goodall, p.170

Fixed and Variable Cost of production (or transportation)

"Flexible Specialization"

FLEXIBLE SPECIALIZATION: Company- level strategy of "permanent innovation", "accommodation to ceaseless change" (rather than to control it). "This strategy is based on flexible -- multi-use -- equipment, skilled workers, and the creation through politics, of an industrial community that restricts the forms of competition to those favoring innovation." [see Piore and Sabel, 1984, p.17; Healey & Ilberry, p.12] Flexible specialization (FS) is often more or less equated with flexible accumulation (FA), namely the stage in industrial development which follows "Fordism", and which is characterized by increased flexibility in production, organization of labor, distribution and consumption. FS represents a more positive interpretation stressing the benefits of flexibility, while FA emphasizes the dependency, dislocation, uncertainty and other negative effects of greater flexibility.

Flexibility strategy

Could be considered a strategic "response to uncertainty". A flexible firm, investment, set of skills, residential arrangement etc. is more responsive to unpredictable futures than a rigid firm etc. Pursuing a flexibility strategy would mean to build appropriate flexibilities into projects and organizations even if that means higher project or organizational costs, as long as the benefits of possible future adjustments (possibly survival) outweighs these costs. Of course, "flexibility" means many different things and would need to be further differentiated to be a useful and operational concept for different situations and time horizons, etc.

Flexible work force

Reference to a work force which can be adapted to changing circumstances. In the context of segmented, dual labor markets, it been suggested that a flexible work force may have two meanings: One part of the labor force is given the chance to be flexible itself, i.e. to be considered functionally sufficiently diversified so that employees can be used for different functions or in different jobs, whereas the other part of the labor force can be hired and fired with ease or employed with variable hours as needed. [See Hayter, p.296]

Florence Effect

"The locus classicus of urban manufacture by small workshops is medieval Florence, which still has streets named after the highly localized industries that plied here... A special set of cases contrary to a general law is usually referred to as an effect. I hope I shall not be considered immodest if this current of localized small plants running counter to the main stream of a positive correlation of size of plant and localization is called, for short, the Florence Effect." [P.Sargant Florence, Economics and Sociology of Industry. London: Watts, 1964, p.69]

F.O.B pricing

Free On Board (less often: freight-on-board): Mill base pricing. A pricing system in which prices are quoted for delivery at the point of production with the buyer to pay freight from that point.

Footloose activity (as different from "mobile" activity)

footlooseness: freedom to select between different destinations/ locations.
An activity which is viable at many different locations. It does not depend on any specific location factor. (In a narrower sense: it does not depend on low transport cost as a location factor) ["can locate anywhere" would be too broad a statement, since any activity's location is constrained in some form].
A more rigorous definition was offered by Klaassen: "An industry is footloose if its long run profitability is the same for any location in an economy". [L.H.Klaasen, Methods of Selecting Industries for Depressed Areas: An Introduction to Feasibility Studies. Paris: OECD, 1967, p.33]

Mobility: ability (ease) to leave a location and move between locations; Goodall, p.175.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

1. Investments undertaken by multinational firms in pursuit of their own organizational objectives
2. Concept important in the discussion of multinational corporations and their economic & social impacts on home and host economies.
"FDI comprises activities that are controlled and organized by firms (or groups of firms) outside of the nation in which they are headquartered and where their principal decision makers are located. In the context of the manufacturing sector, FDI is conventionally thought of in terms of branch plant or subsidiary company operations that are controlled by parent companies based in another country." (
Roger Hayter, based on J.Dunning))
FDI "indicates investment in wholly owned factories that are operated by the foreign owner of the multinational corporation." (Stutz, 1998, p.14)
(More FDI Resources!)

free-on-board pricing (see: f.o.b.)

H&I, p.78; Goodall, p.175.

Forward linkages

Linkages between a producer or supplier and her customers. As different from backward linkages, forward linkages are output-oriented and, in the matrix-context of input-output analysis, are conventionally traced in rows.

Free Spatial Demand Curve

Demand schedule (price/quantity of demand function) of consumers distributed in space with varying distances from a given, central location, aggregated for a supply location with "price" (in the mind of consumers) to include transport costs from this location to consumers; it is "free" (flowing) in that it is not constrained by neighboring competitors. See also "spatial demand curve". (Parr & Denike).

"Frictions of Space" (as different from or complementary to "frictions of time")

Overcoming distance may take time and may be costly. Such costs can be interpreted as "friction" to movement or flow. [see also: Goodall, p.179]

Front-end and back-end functions in software and Webpage design

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