Defining local economies beyond their boundaries

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Abstract

Local economy is conventionally defined through political administrative units. The continuity of this approach has been challenged as a more networked form of economy has evolved. In response, local economies are increasingly reconfigured around city-regions, on presumption of linking network potential with local dynamics. Such challenges present several problems for local practitioners in local economic governance. This paper examines the continuity between city-regional articulations of local economy units (LEU) and localised dynamics. Using a set of lower-tier localities in Staffordshire, UK, reconfigured into the Greater Birmingham & Solihull city-region, it uses a location quotient to examine industrial concentration as a determinant of related variety. It extrapolates these concentrations to define LEUs and examine their continuity with formal political designation. It argues growing dependence on the city-region is a partial representation which ignores industry-based approaches and the need for plurality in defining local economies. Adopting such approaches may be of value to local government policy practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Government Studies
Early online date7 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Local economy
  • sub-national governance
  • networks
  • related variety
  • smart specialisation

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