"Institutional Thickness": Local Governance and Economic Development in Birmingham, England

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This article uses the concept of institutional thickness to describe key features of the local governance of economic development. For this purpose, a methodology for the empirical assessment of institutional thickness is developed and applied to the case of Birmingham, England. The results from this empirical analysis are threefold. First, they make it possible to draw some conclusions on the role that local governments can play to promote local economic development. Second, they suggest that institutional thickness is a useful organizing concept for analyses of the local governance of economic development. Finally, they demonstrate the value of a verifiable and replicable methodology for the detection and measurement of local institutional conditions and of governance arrangements.



  • partnerships, civic leadership, embeddedness, institutional thickness, institutionalism, governance