Regional development policy and economic leadership: an analysis of the scalar conundrum

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Empirical Policy Research - Letting the Data Speak for Themselves, 2013
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At what scale should regional development policy be administered? Indeed, should economic leadership be constituted across similar scales of governance? These crucial questions have caught the interest of academics, policymakers and politicians across all global regions. Decentralization is a favored policy administered in response to the dynamics of economic globalization, especially in an age of fiscal austerity as public service responsibilities are increasingly being devolved to alternative scales. This paper addresses these theoretical and practical questions through the case of England, which in 2010, in contrast to other European countries, initiated the disassembly of formal regional machinery. The paper interrogates the political, economic and administrative dimensions for this course of action and examines the configuration of informal public-private economic leadership partnerships that have succeeded formal regional machinery. The research reveals a noteworthy correlation between these latest scalar entities and those that have been trialed over the past 50 years. This leads the paper to conclude that the search for a scalar solution to the governance of development is set to continue as the scalar conundrum remains.
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