Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

In search of the 'economic dividend' of devolution: spatial disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation in the UK

By Andy Pike, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, John Tomaney, Gianpiero Torrisi and Vassilis Tselios


After a decade of devolution and amid uncertainties about its effects, it is timely to assess and reflect upon the evidence and enduring meaning of any ‘economic dividend’ of devolution in the UK. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach utilising institutionalist and quantitative methods, this paper seeks to discern the nature and extent of any ‘economic dividend’ through a conceptual and empirical analysis of the relationships between spatial disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation. Situating the UK experience within the historical context of its evolving geographical political economy, we find: i) a varied and uneven nature of the relationships between regional disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation that change direction during specific time periods; ii) the role of national economic growth is pivotal in explaining spatial disparities and the nature and extent of their relationship with the particular forms of spatial economic policy and decentralisation deployed; and, iii) there is limited evidence that any ‘economic dividend’ of devolution has emerged but this remains difficult to discern because its likely effects are over-ridden by the role of national economic growth in decisively shaping the pattern of spatial disparities and in determining the scope and effects of spatial economic policy and decentralisation

Topics: G Geography (General), HC Economic History and Conditions, JN101 Great Britain
Publisher: Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), London School of Economics and Political Sciences
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles


  1. (1993). (Eds.) Spatial Policy in a Divided Nation,
  2. (2009). A fiscal perspective of state rescaling’, doi
  3. (2005). A new regional policy for Britain’, doi
  4. (2003). A New Regional Policy for the UK, Institute for Public Policy Research:
  5. (1999). An essay on fiscal federalism’, doi
  6. (2001). and Department of Trade and Industry
  7. (2010). Defining and measuring decentralisation: a critical review’, Unpublished Paper, CURDS: Newcastle Upon Tyne.
  8. (2006). Devolution and development: Territorial justice and the North-South divide’, doi
  9. (2002). Devolution and economic governance in the UK: Uneven geographies, uneven capacities?’, doi
  10. (2010). Devolution Dynamics of Spanish Local Government, WP-EC 2010-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas doi
  11. (2010). Devolution Dynamics of Spanish Local Government, WP-EC 2010-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas (IVIE): doi
  12. (1999). Devolution: A Process Not An Event, Institute of Welsh Affairs:
  13. (1994). Divergent inequalities: theory and empirical results’, doi
  14. (2010). Does decentralization matter for regional disparities? A cross-country analysis’, doi
  15. (2009). Does income polarization affect economic growth? The case of the European regions’, doi
  16. (2005). Economics of devolution/decentralization in the UK: Some questions and answers’, doi
  17. (2009). Editorial: Rescaling the state: new modes of institutional–territorial organization’, doi
  18. (2005). Education, migration, and job satisfaction: the regional returns of human capital in the EU’, doi
  19. (2000). End of the Empire State? New Labour and devolution in the United Kingdom’, doi
  20. (1993). Estimation and Inference in Econometrics, doi
  21. (2007). Extension of a measure of polarization with an application to the income distributions of five OECD countries’, doi
  22. (2006). Final Report of the Devolution and Constitutional Change Programme, School of Social and Political Studies:
  23. (1998). Fiscal decentralisation and LDC economic growth: an empirical investigation’, doi
  24. (2009). Fiscal decentralisation, efficiency and growth’, doi
  25. (2002). Fiscal decentralization contributes to economic growth: evidence form state-level cross-section data for the United States’, doi
  26. (2008). From identity to the economy: analysing the evolution of the decentralisation discourse’, Environment and Planning C: Government and doi
  27. (2009). Having it both ways: explaining the contradiction in English spatial development policy’, doi
  28. (1991). Increasing returns and economic geography’, doi
  29. (2001). Inequality, polarization and welfare: theory and applications’, doi
  30. (2005). International income polarization: a note’, doi
  31. (2002). Introductory Econometrics A Modern Approach, doi
  32. (2005). Is devolution good for the Scottish economy? A framework for analysis’,
  33. (2004). Is there a global link between regional disparities and devolution?’, doi
  34. (2006). Just another expensive talking shop’: Public and the 2004 Regional Assembly Referendum in the North East of England’, doi
  35. (2008). National growth versus spatial equality? A cautionary note on the new ‘trade-off’ thinking in regional policy discourse’, doi
  36. (2005). On the ‘economic dividend’ of devolution’, doi
  37. (1994). On the measurement of polarization’, doi
  38. (1989). Optimal grouping of income and wealth data’, doi
  39. (1981). Optimal grouping of income distribution data’, doi
  40. (2008). Patterns of regional authority’, doi
  41. (2000). Polarization orderings and new classes of polarization indices’, doi
  42. (1981). Public Expenditure and Taxation in UK Regions,
  43. (1977). Public Expenditures, Taxes, and the Distribution of Income: The United States, doi
  44. (2003). Reducing Regional Disparities in Prosperity, ODPM Committee: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee,
  45. (2007). Regional business cycles and the emergence of sheltered economies in the southern periphery of Europe’, doi
  46. (2000). Regional Economics and Policy, doi
  47. (1996). Regional government: An economic imperative’
  48. (2005). Regional grants: Are they worth it?’, doi
  49. (1990). Regional policy and national politics in Britain’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, doi
  50. (1995). Regional Policy, Trade and Industry Committee, Fourth Report,
  51. (1985). Regional regeneration in Britain: the ‘territorial imperative’ and Conservative state’, doi
  52. (1997). Regions invited to have their say’,
  53. (2009). Regions Matter: Economic Recovery, Innovation and Sustainable Growth, doi
  54. (1993). Remapping British regional policy: the end of the North-South divide?’, doi
  55. (1996). Renewing the Regions, Policy Research Centre,
  56. (1940). Report of the Royal Commission on the Distribution of Industrial Population,
  57. (1985). Searching for leviathan: an empirical study’,
  58. (2010). State and economy: governing uneven development in the UK’ doi
  59. The Calman Commission (2009) Serving Scotland Better: Scotland and the United Kingdom
  60. (1970). The case for regional policies’, doi
  61. (1994). The Free Economy and the Strong State: The Politics of Thatcherism (2 nd Edition), doi
  62. (1994). The Free Economy and the Strong State: The Politics of Thatcherism (2nd Edition), doi
  63. (1988). The Local State and Uneven Development, doi
  64. (1988). The political economy of Britain’s North-South divide’, doi
  65. (2007). The polycentric state: New spaces of empowerment and engagement?’, doi
  66. (1997). The post-Keynesian state and the space economy’,
  67. (1992). The regional legacy’ doi
  68. (2004). The Richard Commission doi
  69. (2009). The state and uneven development: The governance of economic development in the post-devolution UK’, doi
  70. (2001). Towards a New Regional Policy, The Smith Institute: London.
  71. (1997). UK regional policy: an assessment’, doi
  72. (2010). Urban Renewal and Regional Growth: Muddle Objectives and Mixed Progress’, Centre for Economic Performance Election Analysis,
  73. (2005). Visionary, precautionary and constrained 'varieties of devolution in the economic governance of the devolved UK territories’, doi
  74. (2008). Welsh devolution has “little economic impact”’,
  75. (1989). Wrecking a Region: State Policies, Party Politics and Regional Change in North East doi
  76. (2002). Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the English Regions, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.