The Cambridge Political Economy Society held this two day conference on 11th and 12th July 2013 at the McGrath Centre, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge which brought together current and new thinking on the determinants of local economic growth. It drew upon and explored a number of alternative perspectives and looked at how these help us to understand the forces that are shaping patterns of economic growth and development at the local level when many local economies are struggling to resume economic growth and prosperity.
The conference assessed the scope for policy intervention and the direction this might take. It considered how regions and sub regions in the UK and elsewhere in Europe have differed in their response to, and recovery from, successive major economic recessions, and looked at the extent to which these differences in response and recovery have affected long-run regional and subregional growth paths. There was a particular focus on the current crisis and recession, and how the geographies of this compare to those of the downturns of the early-1980s and early-1990s. A total of seventeen presentations were given over the two days. In addition a Panel Session was held at the end of day one which considered ‘Delivering the local economic growth agenda’ with contributions from a number of Local Enterprise Partnership representatives and other local business organisations.
The conference drew upon research being carried out by a Cambridge-Southampton based team on an ESRC funded project How do Regions React to Recession: Resilience, Hysteresis and Long-term Impacts and conducted under the aegis of the Cambridge-based Centre for Geographical Economic Research. It included researchers on cognate projects being funded by ESPON, and the European Research Council. The delegates were from several constituencies: academics working in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, and the USA/Canada; policy representatives of UK Government Departments including the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills, Communities and Local Government and HM Treasury; the OECD and the European Commission (DG Regio); representatives from the English Local Enterprise Partnerships and delegates from the business community. The event was also sponsored by the UKIRC and Cambridge Econometrics.