The economics behind the move to 'localism' in England

Paul Hildreth, David Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the economic thinking behind the UK Coalition government’s new framework for achieving local growth and the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships in England. It does so in the light of recent debates about ‘space-neutral’ and ‘place-based’ policymaking. While the British government states its ambition to achieve greater spatial and industrial balance across England (and by implication the UK), we argue that so far at least there is a mismatch between the ‘rhetoric’ and ‘policies’ of local growth and its limitations. These relate to inconsistencies in the way that the different competing economic ideas in circulation within government have been adopted in practice. As a result, the paper highlights six key disconnects and limitations of the economics behind the move in England to local growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-249
Number of pages17
JournalCambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Issue number2
Early online date21 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Cambridge journal of regions, economy and society following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Hildreth, P., & Bailey, D. (2013). The economics behind the move to 'localism' in England. Cambridge journal of regions, economy and society, 6(2), 233-249 is available online at


  • local growth
  • localism
  • regions
  • LEPs
  • new economic georgraphy
  • space-neutral vs place-based approaches


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