Conference paper
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Analysing spatial variations in regional economic performance is a common focus for research by regional scientists. Typically such investigations suffer from using de jure regions (such as Local Government Aras) as the spatial base as data tend to be readily available for such administrative areas to derive the variables that researchers use in econometric modelling. But using those de jure regions means we encounter the modifiable area unit problem (MAUP) which necessitates making adjustments to address spatial autocorrelation issues. It is preferable to use functional regions as the spatial base for such investigations, but that is often difficult to achieve. This paper outlines how, in Australia, we have undertaken research to derive functional economic regions (FERs) to provide an improved spatial data base that is functional and not de jure-based to address the autocorrelation issue. To do that we employ the Intramax procedure applied to journey-to-work (JTW) commuting flows data that is available from the 2011 census. The research has generated not only a national frame-work of FERs based on aggregate employment but also a series of regionalisations of FERs differentiated by employment in industry and occupational categories, employment by gender, and mode of travel to work.

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