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Combined and Uneven Development: Reflections on the North–South Divide


  • Robert Rowthorn


Abstract This paper is concerned with the geography of structural change in Great Britain since 1971. It divides the country into two broad areas—the ‘North’ comprising Northern England, the West Midlands, Wales and Scotland, and the ‘South’ comprising the rest of mainland Britain. The paper documents the uneven regional impact of industrial decline and the rise of the new service economy. The role of the export base is analysed in an appendix using a simple mathematical model to link together regional competitiveness, employment, fiscal transfers, population and migration. Une évolution mixte et irrégulière: réflexions sur la démarcation Nord/Sud RÉSUMÉ La présente communication se penche sur la géographie des changements sur le plan structurel survenus en Grande-Bretagne depuis 1971. Elle subdivise le pays dans les deux zones principales suivantes: la région « Nord », comprenant le nord de l'Angleterre, les West Midlands, le Pays de Galles et l’Écosse, et la région « Sud », comprenant le restant de la Grande-Bretagne. La communication documente l'impact régional irrégulier du déclin industriel ainsi que l'essor du secteur tertiaire. Elle analyse le rôle de la base export, dans une annexe, en utilisant un modèle mathématique simple permettant de lier ensemble la compétitivité régionale, l'emploi, les transferts fiscaux, la population et la migration. Desarrollo combinado y desigual: reflexiones sobre la división entre Norte y Sur EXTRACTO Este trabajo se refiere a la geografía del cambio estructural en Gran Bretaña desde 1971. Divide al país en dos áreas amplias: el ‘Norte’, compuesto por el norte de Inglaterra, las West Midlands, Gales y Escocia; y, el ‘Sur’, compuesto por el resto del territorio británico. El estudio documenta el desigual impacto del declive industrial y el surgimiento de la nueva economía de servicios. La función de la base de exportación se analiza en un apéndice utilizando un modelo matemático simple para enlazar competitividad regional, empleo, transferencias fiscales, población y emigración.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Rowthorn, 2010. "Combined and Uneven Development: Reflections on the North–South Divide," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(4), pages 363-388.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:specan:v:5:y:2010:i:4:p:363-388
    DOI: 10.1080/17421772.2010.516445

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Overman, Henry G., 2010. "Urban renewal and regional growth: muddled objectives and mixed progress," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58012, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    Cited by:

    1. Grahame Fallon & Mark Cook, 2014. "Explaining Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Inbound FDI Location in Five UK Regions," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(3), pages 331-348, July.
    2. Di Caro, Paolo, 2014. "Testing and explaining economic resilience with an application to Italian regions," MPRA Paper 60298, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:bla:presci:v:96:y:2017:i:1:p:93-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley & Ben Gardiner & Peter Tyler, 2016. "How Regions React to Recessions: Resilience and the Role of Economic Structure," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(4), pages 561-585, April.
    5. repec:oup:cjrecs:v:10:y:2017:i:3:p:425-454. is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:taf:oaefxx:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:1002152 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley & Peter Tyler & Ben Gardiner, 2016. "Editor's choice Divergent cities in post-industrial Britain," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 9(2), pages 269-299.

    More about this item


    De-industrialization; services; the North–South divide; export base; migration; R11; O14; F22;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration


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