Regional development theories draw on forces of economic convergence or divergence to explain uneven core‐periphery spatial processes of community formation. But there continues to be limited understanding of how different capitalism types shape this, such as in resource economies in advanced capitalist economies where global competitiveness depends on the productivity increases of technological innovation and a specialized flexible workforce. This paper unpacks contemporary understandings of regional development processes, arguing that theories often underestimate the scale of labor commuting, as well as the level to which it is structurally transforming resource economies. It draws on evidence from Western Australia, examining how resource production has shaped the spatiality of economic activities between the Perth metropolitan region and its peripheries. Outlining factor inputs of two broad resource economy types, it offers four dimensions influencing spatial relations of resource economies in advanced capitalist nations which need deeper consideration in regional development models. It concludes that understanding the unique processes driving spatial (dis)advantage within such economies is critical to efficient policy formation, and that not doing so may unwittingly exacerbate spatial inequality.