Space of flows, uneven regional development and geography of financial services in Ireland

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 This paper is concerned with the geography of finance in the globalising knowledge-based economy, characterised by the proliferation of information and communication technology. More specifically, the paper aims to examine the “locational structure” of financial services in such an economy and its implications for uneven regional development in Europe. In doing so, the paper engages with the concept of “space of flows” and several other theoretical approaches concerned with the geography of advanced producer services and finance. It argues that while such approaches provide a useful starting point, they need be developed further in order to inform an understanding of both the nature and the dynamics of the “locational structure” of financial services and its implications for regional economic development. This point is illustrated in the case of Ireland, focusing on “domestic” banking institutions and “international” financial services operating there. The paper concludes that while “space of flows” provides a useful metaphor for approaching the geography of financial services and other knowledge intensive business services, the conceptual and analytical emphasis should shift towards the “flows of value” that ultimately impinge upon the fortunes of cities and regions.