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Relocation, relocation, relocation: Assessing the case for public sector dispersal


  • J. N. Marshall
  • D. Bradley
  • C. Hodgson
  • N. Alderman
  • R. Richardson


Marshall J. N., Bradley D., Hodgson C., Alderman N. and Richardson R. (2005) Relocation, relocation, relocation: assessing the case for public sector dispersal, Regional Studies 39 , 767-787. The paper assesses the case for public sector relocation from capital cities using evidence from Britain. The senior echelons of the British civil service are disproportionately concentrated in London. Significant reductions in operating costs can be achieved by relocating civil service functions from the capital, and these financial savings have been used to justify programmes of dispersal. However, the paper stresses the strong regional case for relocation; relocation contributes directly through employment creation to more balanced regional economic development and simultaneously reduces overheating close to the capital and the under-utilization of infrastructure and human resources in other regions. The relocation of more senior jobs in the civil service from London strengthens the service base within problem regions. The highly centralized and strongly hierarchical nature of the civil service, combined with the buoyancy of the private sector near the capital, acts as a brake on staff mobility and the effective national deployment of staff in the civil service. Public service relocation is increasingly being used by government to facilitate modernization by using relocation as a catalyst to bring in new business practices. However, there is less of a willingness on the part of government to connect relocation with flatter forms of more devolved governance.

Suggested Citation

  • J. N. Marshall & D. Bradley & C. Hodgson & N. Alderman & R. Richardson, 2005. "Relocation, relocation, relocation: Assessing the case for public sector dispersal," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 767-787.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:39:y:2005:i:6:p:767-787
    DOI: 10.1080/00343400500213663

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. C W Jefferson & M Trainor, 1993. "Public Sector Employment in Regional Development," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 25(9), pages 1319-1338, September.
    2. Gillian Bristow & Max Munday & Peter Gripaios, 2000. "Call centre growth and location: corporate strategy ;and the spatial division of labour," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(3), pages 519-538, March.
    3. B Ashcroft & J K Swales, 1982. "The importance of the first round in the multiplier process: the impact of Civil Service dispersal," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 14(4), pages 429-444, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Faggio, G., 2016. "Relocation of Public Sector Workers: Evaluating a place-based policy," Working Papers 16/10, Department of Economics, City University London.
    2. Giulia Faggio, 2014. "Relocation of Public Sector Workers: Evaluating a Place-based Policy," SERC Discussion Papers 0155, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    3. SeHoon Lee & Jeong Hee Hong & Jang Won Bae & Il-Chul Moon, 2015. "Impact of Population Relocation to City Commerce: Micro-Level Estimation with Validated Agent-Based Model," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 18(2), pages 1-5.
    4. repec:ehl:lserod:50482 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:10:p:1872-:d:115537 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Faggio, Giulia & Overman, Henry, 2014. "The effect of public sector employment on local labour markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 91-107.

    More about this item


    Public sector relocation; Reduced operating costs; Balanced regional development; Government modernization; Relocalisation du secteur public; Frais d'exploitation reduits; Developpement regional equilibre; Modernisation de l'administration; Standortwechsel der offentlichen Dienste; verringerte Betriebskosten; ausgewogene Regionalentwicklung; Modernisierung der Regionen; Transferencia de la administracion publica; Reduccion de los costes operativos; Desarrollo regional equitativo; Modernizacion del gobierno; JEL classifications: R11; R38; R53; R83;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock


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