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Reducing regional disparities in productivity in the United Kingdom


  • Peter Gal


  • Jagoda Egeland



The United Kingdom displays large regional disparities in productivity compared to most other OECD countries, with a large gap between London and most other regions. This holds back aggregate productivity and growth, and contributes to regional differences in living standards. To make the lagging regions more attractive to companies and workers, transport links between and within cities should be improved by increasing infrastructure investment outside London. Another policy priority is to improve the local business environment through more spending on innovation and increased support for investment and skills. Also, local authorities should have more freedom in setting education and training goals and the land-use planning system has to be more responsive to meet housing needs in cities. The role of subnational government is sub-par relative to the OECD average, but more devolution has recently been introduced in several city-regions. Such efforts towards more decentralization need to continue to cover larger parts of the country and involve greater transfers of powers and responsibilities at the local level.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Gal & Jagoda Egeland, 2018. "Reducing regional disparities in productivity in the United Kingdom," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1456, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1456-en

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    decentralisation; Productivity; regional development; transport;

    JEL classification:

    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

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