Public policy for addressing the low-skills low-wage trap: insights from business cases in the Birmingham city-region, UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Coventry University
  • Coventry Univ


The idea that some local areas are characterised by a low-skills equilibrium trap is prominent in academic and policy debates in the Global North. Factors shaping this position and associated implications for local economic development are only partially understood. This article provides new evidence examining employers’ decision-making around investment and workforce management in the hospitality and retail sectors in the Birmingham city-region, UK, and their experience of the low-skills low-wage trap. The findings highlight intersecting sectoral and place-based factors in the emergence of, and barriers to escape from, this position. Responses require policy actions at firm, local and national level.


Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Jul 2020


  • skills, wages, Economic performance, business models, low-wage low-skills trap, Institutional theory