Economic policy co-ordination in a devolved UK

  • Scott, Andrew (Principal Investigator)

Project Details

Layman's description

The research aims to analyse and evaluate the theoretical and policy implications of devolution for the organisation and coordination of the UK economic policy process. The underlying objective of devolution is to permit the emergence of local (or regional) economic policies that are geared to local economic conditions and designed to achieve local objectives. However, at the same time these local policies need to be congruent with national policy objectives and policy constraints imposed from the Centre, and they should not interfere with local policy conditions in other regions. This raises two research questions. First, what economic policy instruments should be developed at the local level and how might these be geared to achieving local objectives (the localisation question). Second, what institutional policy coordination arrangements should accompany devolution to ensure that local economic policy actions are coordinated between devolved administrations, and with respect to economic policies implemented from the centre (the coordination question). Thus far, devolution of economic policy competencies has been restricted to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Moreover, different devolved administrations have different degrees of autonomy over local economic policies. It is however likely that the process of devolution within England - at least as this applies to economic policy - is set to continue. This raises important issues of policy localisation (and policy spillover), and policy coordination which are under-researched. It is this gap in the literature that our research will address. At a theoretical level, the research will apply the principles of policy coordination between countries, to the problem of analysing coordination between institutions or regions within one country. We will re-work that framework to enable it to be applied explicitly to regional coordination problems, and then apply it to the post-devolution economic policy structure of the UK. We will provide for the English regions in the study, as well as policy localisation and coordination between central government and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our objective is to provide an analysis which shows how best to manage the UK economy in this new devolved regime - that is, to provide a "federalist papers of economic policy" for the UK. Amongst other factors, the policy coordination problem (and its institutional solution) will be dependent upon the nature of economic policies to be developed at the local level. Consequently, we will consider policy localisation with respect to labour market policies; regional economic development policies; and industrial policies. These are policies where local relationships can be deepened and in which local policy variations are likely to emerge. The study will examine how these issues are addressed in three comparator countries - Italy, Spain and Germany
Effective start/end date31/12/0331/12/03


  • ESRC: £47,857.00