Defining an Industry: What is the Size and Scope of the Australian Building and Construction Industry

Gerard de Valence


The analysis and understanding of the conduct and performance of an industry begins

with a study of its structure. However, before analysing an industry's structure it is

necessary to define the industry and identify its size, scope and scale to establish its

true economic contribution. This paper discusses the size and scope of the Australian

building and construction industry, firstly, from a traditional industry economics approach

by firm size and business characteristics using data from three construction industry

surveys done over 15 years by the ABS. Secondly, data from an industry 'cluster'

perspective is shown. The objective of the paper is to compare the differences found in

industry size and scope in the structure-conduct-performance approach and the

alternative industry cluster approach. Each model reveals different characteristics of the

industry. The conclusion finds that the building and construction industry is a case

where the traditional structure-conduct-performance model cannot be easily applied.


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