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special economic zone on Mexico's northern border with the United States

Industrial Revolution

A series of improvements in industrial technology that transformed the process of manufacturing goods.

Commodity Chain

series of links connecting the many places of production and distribution and resulting in a commodity that is then exchanged on the world market.

Ford Production (Fordist) Method

manufacturing process broken down into differentiated components, with different groups of people performing different tasks to complete the product.

Post Fordist

World economic system characterized by a more flexible set of production practices in which goods are not mass produced; instead, production has been accelerated and dispersed around the globe by multinational companies that shift production, outsourcing it around the world and bringing places closer together in time and space than would have been imaginable at the beginning of the 20th century

Alfred Weber's Least Cost Theory

Model developed by Alfred Weber according to which the location of manufacturing establishments is determined by the minimization three critical expenses: labor, transportation, and agglomeration

Situation Factors

Location factors related to the transportation of materials into and from a factory.

Site Factors

Location factors related to the costs of factors of production inside the plant, such as land, labor, and capital

Spatially Variable Costs

Costs that vary or change depending on the location of an industrial activity.

Spatially Fixed Costs

Costs that remain the same no matter where a business chooses to locate.

Bulk Reducing Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs less or comprises a lower volume than the inputs

Bulk Gaining Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs more or has a greater volume than the inputs.

Break of Bulk Point

A location where transfer is possible from one mode of transportation to another. i.e. a steel mill near the port of Baltimore receives iron ore by ship from South AMerica and coal by train from Appalachia.

Material Orientation

The tendency of an economic activity to locate near or at its source of raw material; this is experienced when material costs are highly variable spatially and/or represent a significant share of total costs

Market Orientation

The tendency of an economic activity to locate close to its market; a reflection of large and variable distribution costs

Footloose Industries

Industries that are able to shift the location of their facilities in order to take advantage of cheap labor.

Substitution Principle

Principle that maintains that the correct location of a production facility is where the net profit is the greatest. Therefore in industry, there is a tendency to substitute one factor of production (e.g., labor) for another (e.g., capital for automated equipment) in order to achieve optimum plant location.

Labor-Intensive Industry

An industry for which labor costs represent a large proportion of total production costs.


A snowballing geographical process by which secondary and service industrial activities become clustered in cities and compact industrial regions in order to share infrastructure and markets.

Agglomeration Economy

AKA - External Economies Positive effects of agglomeration for clustered industries and for the consumers of their products, often in the form of lower costs to industries and the consumers.

High Tech Corridor

Areas along or near major transportation arteries that are devoted to the research, development and sale of high-technology products. These areas develop because of the networking and synergistic advantages of concentrating high-tchnology enterprises in close proximity to one another. "Silicon Valley" is a prime example.


A center of high-tech manufacturing and information-based industry.

Backwash Effect

Occurs when other regions suffer a drain of resources and talent due to agglomeration in another region.

Locational Interdependence

Theory developed by economist Harold Hotelling that suggests competitors, in trying to maximize sales, will seek to constrain each other's territory as much as possible which will therefore lead them to locate adjacent to one another in the middle of their collective customer base.


The process of industrial deconcentration in response to technological advances and/or increasing costs due to congestion and competition.


The decline of primary and secondary industry, accompanied by a rise of the service sectors of the industrial economy.

Cottage Industry

A traditional type of manufacturing in the pre-industrial revolution era, practiced on a small scale in individual households as a part-time occupation and designed to produce handmade goods for local consumption.

Guild Industry

A traditional type of manufacturing in the pre-industrial revolution era, involving handmade goods of high quality manufactured by highly skilled artisans who resided in towns and cities.

Right to Work Laws

Laws preventing a union and a company from negotiating a contract that requires workers to join a union as a condition of employment.

New International Division of Labor

Transfer of some types of jobs, especially those requiring low paid, less skilled workers, from more developed countries to less developed countries.

Structural Adjustments

Stipulations that require the country receiving an international loan to make economic changes in order to use the loan


To change from government or public ownership or control to private ownership or control.

Non Government Organizations (NGOs)

Organization not run by a government but by a charity or private organization that supplies resources and money to local businesses and causes advancing economic and human development.


The physical separation of some economic activities from the main production facility, usually for the purpose of employing cheaper labor.

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