Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Alfred Hecht

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The fundamental changes in the economic environment since the 1970s put firms under immense pressure to adjust their strategies to the increasingly dynamic and flexible global economy. The simultaneous upsurge in industrial trade show activity suggests that these events hold a central position in the process of restructuring. Therefore this study aims at theoretically examining the economic functions of trade shows and thus their role in economic restructuring. Yet, if trade shows are significant in industrial restructuring, it is important to learn about their spatial structure and thus their accessibility to firms in different countries and regions. This is carried out at the level of the European Union as the study area both on the national as well as on the regional scale. Besides the distribution of these events the quality of the trade show environment of the different member countries is investigated. In addition to the analysis of the spatial patterns of these activities, the influential socio-economic factors responsible for their distribution are examined. The results of the theoretical analysis reveal a multitude of economic functions of trade shows that are of significant value for the competitiveness of firms to cope with the rapidly changing business environment. Yet, as the empirical analysis showed, trade shows are highly spatially concentrated in the economically powerful core regions of the European Union. Their accessibility to firms in less supplied peripheral countries is therefore limited, staging companies in these areas at a considerable competitive disadvantage. Since the distribution of trade shows was found to be mainly determined by the developmental stage of national economies, a further widening of the competitivity gap between the European core and the lagging periphery is to be expected.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Economics Commons