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Practice running ahead of theory? Political economy and the economic lessons of UK devolution

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  • Graham Brownlow

Abstract

Advocates of political decentralisation make much of its supposed ‘economic dividends’. Critics of this argument, while acknowledging the possible benefits, suggest that the specific ‘institutional geography’ under which devolution operates is crucial. In short, the Institutionalist critique is that economic outcomes are contingent on the way devolved institutions are designed. The institutional geography of contemporary UK devolution, as well as the historical case of Northern Irish devolution (1920–1972), is analysed in this article. Contemporary and historical evidence, as well as theoretical material presented, provides further support for the hypothesis that institutional structures are crucial.

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  • Graham Brownlow, 2017. "Practice running ahead of theory? Political economy and the economic lessons of UK devolution," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 10(3), pages 559-573.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cjrecs:v:10:y:2017:i:3:p:559-573.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cjres/rsx015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ben Gardiner & Ron Martin & Peter Sunley & Peter Tyler, 2013. "Spatially unbalanced growth in the British economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 889-928, November.
    2. R. Ross Mackay, 2003. "Twenty-five Years of Regional Development," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 303-317.
    3. Graham Brownlow, 2007. "The causes and consequences of rent‐seeking in Northern Ireland, 1945–721," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(1), pages 70-96, February.
    4. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Adala Bwire, 2004. "The economic (in)efficiency of devolution," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(11), pages 1907-1928, November.
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    6. Rowthorn, Bob, 1981. "Northern Ireland: An Economy in Crisis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, March.
    7. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
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    9. Andy Pike & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & John Tomaney & Gianpiero Torrisi & Vassilis Tselios, 2012. "In search of the ‘economic dividend’ of devolution: spatial disparities, spatial economic policy, and decentralisation in the UK," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(1), pages 10-28, February.
    10. Andres Rodriguez-Pose & Nicholas Gill, 2005. "On the 'economic dividend' of devolution," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 405-420.
    11. Hamlin, Alan P, 1991. "Decentralization, Competition and the Efficiency of Federalism," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 67(198), pages 193-204, September.
    12. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1970. "The Case for Regional Policies," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 17(3), pages 337-348, November.
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    1. repec:bla:ecaffa:v:38:y:2018:i:1:p:58-73 is not listed on IDEAS

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