City-REDI / WM REDI Research E-Symposium

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On May 27, 13.00-16.00, researchers from City-REDI/WM REDI will be presenting their ongoing work at the institutes. You are most welcome to join our webinar and find out about our research.

Please register here

The programme and abstracts for the e-symposium are below:

Time Title Presenter
13.00 – 13.10 Introduction & Welcome Professor Simon Collinson
13.10 -13.30 Exploring the deep roots of UK interregional inequality Dr Andre Carrascal-Incera
13.30 -13.50 Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs Dr Charlotte Hoole
13.50 – 14.10 How well equipped are national training surveys to capture new approaches to training? Dr Abigail Taylor
14.10 – 14.30 Community Sponsorship, refugee resettlement and social capital in the UK: policy, practice and experience Dr Sara Hassan
14.30 – 14.40 Coffee break
14.40 – 15.00 Evaluating of a Person-centred Start-up Accelerator Dr Juliane Schwarz
15.00 – 15.20 Do creative industries generate multiplier effects? Evidence from UK cities, 1997-2018 Dr Diana Gutierrez-Posada
15.20 – 15.40 Universities, students and regional economies: A symbiotic relationship? Dr Tasos Kitsos
Exploring the deep roots of UK interregional inequality

Dr André Carrascal-Incera

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness that interregional inequalities in the UK are not typical of other countries. The UK today is the most geographically unbalanced country among the OECD countries, with the highest Gini index from 2000 to 2016 and with this index growing through this period. These extreme interregional inequalities are a result of complex interrelationships between the effects of economic geography, modern production processes due to globalisation and issues of governance. This has led to the narratives of a UK economy with a picture of London versus the Rest of the regions. By means of an extended multiregional Input-Output model, we explore the structural roots of these inequalities. Following the related literature, Miyazawa models that consider different types of households reveal important asymmetries in this topic that otherwise would remain hidden. Results show that, while the power of generating income is quite balanced along the UK regions; the spatial distribution of income recipients is quite asymmetric towards Inner London and the South East. These results illustrate how difficult it is to counteract interregional inequalities and why direct transfers to poorer regions can increase the disparities at the end.

Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs

Dr Charlotte Hoole

This research aims to identify institutional and organisational arrangements at the regional level that tend to lead to the ‘good’ management of policy trade-offs associated with increased productivity. These trade-offs are related to increasing productivity and productivity growth rates (‘productivity’), sharing prosperity more widely (‘inclusivity’) and shifting to a low carbon economy that does not damage the environment (‘sustainability’). These are objectives that form the basis for targets in Local Economic Plans and Industrial Strategies in the UK where this research takes place. Our starting assumption is that for any given economic endowment, different institutional and organisational arrangements in a region will produce different patterns of trade-off management, whereby trade-off management is ‘good’ when it reduces the need for compromise between certain objectives or when it helps regional policy makers understand both the nature of the trade-offs and the likely intended and unintended consequences of interventions. This is because different arrangements will lead to different strategies and to different ways of implementing these that will, in turn, lead to differences in firm behaviour, determining the resulting pattern of trade-offs. Our research will, therefore, attempt to identify differences at both these levels and the causal connections between them. While the impacts of specific policies on these objectives have been extensively researched less attention has been paid to the differing impact on the objectives of alternative institutional and organisational arrangements at the regional level, or to the way these arrangements affect the management of trade-offs.

Addressing Challenges Facing the Uk’s Skills System: Training Provision, Spatial Mobility And Adaptability

Dr Abigail Taylor

Employer and employee surveys reveal that participation in training among employees and approaches to training among employers are changing. Over recent years, participation in training has declined, spending per employee has fallen and online training/e-learning is increasing.

The Covid-19 crisis adds purpose to considering training trends since it has brought skills to the fore in terms of economic recovery. Because of the pandemic, workers across the globe are having rapidly adapt to work and learning increasingly moving online. The crisis is highlighting the need for employees to develop different types of skills and participate in lifelong learning to remain in the workplace. The Department for Education has launched a Toolkit, offering free online digital and numeracy courses. However, if people are going to be learning in new ways to a greater extent, this raises the issue of how well equipped such surveys are to capture the new trends. Are such surveys missing out on new forms of learning that are taking place?

In the context of changing approaches to training and the implications of this given COVID-19 for training, this paper provides a critical review of the focus of Employer and Employee surveys of training and analysis of selected in-depth interviews with employers. It argues that there is a greater focus on formal than informal training within current surveys and that informal training is often referred to as self-taught training rather than also covering informal training with others. It suggests that there is a gap in terms of understanding the different types, duration and value of some of the informal learning that is taking place in the workplace. Recent changes in the workplace also mean that the distinction between on and off the job training in surveys is perhaps less useful than previously. The paper suggests that to capture new approaches to learning, surveys may need to place greater focus on the extent to which there is increased individual responsibility for training in the workplace, and how communities of practice are being used by firms of different sizes.

Community Sponsorship, refugee resettlement and social capital in the UK: policy, practice and experience

Dr Sara Hassan

In 2015 the UK Government pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict by 2020.  One of the key innovations of this pledge was the development of the Community Sponsorship Scheme (CSS).  Under this programme community groups were encouraged to raise sufficient funds and volunteers to provide support for a refugee family for one year and housing for two years. So far over 40 refugee families have been resettled under this programme to a wide range of locations including diverse British cities and remote rural areas with little experience of diversity. The scheme emulates the Canadian Private Sponsorship programme and is underpinned by the idea that sponsorship by communities offers built-in social capital that can enable refugee families to integrate quickly.

Literature shows that social capital has a key role in refugee integration but that refugees need different kinds of social networks to facilitate integration.  Whilst the kinds of social bridges offered by CSS group volunteers can accelerate access to the labour market, social bonds with co-ethnic or co-religious others were also found to be important particularly for refugee health and well-being with gender differences identified.  The CSS programme offers the prospect of high levels of bridging capital but the extent to which they offer bonding capital for those refugee families resettled in rural areas remains to be seen especially for those resettled to rural areas.

Using vignettes developed from qualitative research with refugee families who have arrived in the UK under CSS this paper asks what kinds of social capital does CSS offer refugee families and in what ways does it support refugee integration across multifaceted domains?  In discussion, we consider the extent to which the UK Government’s intentions for refugee resettlement through CSS are realised and argue that while bridging capital does support social cohesion at the local level and has the potential for social transformation going beyond CSS groups, the current policy neglects the importance of bonding capital leaving refugees living in rural areas feeling isolated and struggling to imagine a successful future in the UK.

Evaluating of a Person-centred Start-up Accelerator

Dr Juliane Schwarz

Recent years have seen rapid and extensive growth of business accelerator programmes, both in the UK and in other OECD countries. Such programmes are claimed to have large positive effects on entrepreneurship, innovation and business growth for participating companies. However, there is a lack of robust evidence on actual programme effects and how these are achieved. For example, highly selective programmes may choose firms who would have succeeded without business support. Given that many programmes now benefit from public support, understanding impact is important.

In this paper, we report on an ongoing multi-year, mixed-methods evaluation of an accelerator programme in London, run by one of the UK’s leading providers. The programme aims to support 150 competitively selected start-ups and early-stage companies in the creative and tech industries over 3 years. It takes a ‘person-centred’ approach, supporting new entrepreneurs in their initial journey towards business success through an intensive 3-month programme of mentoring, technical advice, networking and peer feedback tools. It aims to raise participant firms’ survival, employment and innovation, as well as raising founders leadership skills and confidence.

We report emerging findings from the evaluation, drawing on rich programme management data, participant surveys, interviews with participants and programme managers as well as secondary data on post-programme outcomes. We focus on 1) participants’ experience of the programme 2) changes in their behaviour during and after the programme and 3) changes in business outcomes.

Do creative industries generate multiplier effects? Evidence from UK cities, 1997-2018

Dr Diana Gutierrez-Posada

Since the late 1990s, Cultural and Creative Industries have received increasing attention for their potential to drive urban development and economic growth. A large literature has highlighted the urban nature of these activities, and the UK is no exception: 53 per cent of employment and 44 per cent of businesses are in the top five urban locations of the country, and the trend shows a growing concentration over time. Does this concentration affect the wider urban economy, and if so, how? Pinning down these effects requires identifying the causal effects from creative industries to the wider economy, but the existing evidence is in fact weak. This paper will help to fill these gaps by exploring the causal impact of Cultural and Creative Industries on surrounding local economies. Extending and adapting frameworks pioneered by Moretti on local spillovers, we will identify effects on the local business population, labour and housing markets using a 21-years-long panel and fixed effects models, along with instruments to mitigate endogeneity. Over the period 1997-2018, we see substantial increases in counts of firms and jobs for all activities, including Creative Industries. Despite the clustering trends, firms and jobs in the Creative Industries have become slightly less concentrated over time: although London still dominates, there has been a redistribution of activity towards smaller cities. There is also a positive relationship between the change in Creative Industries and the change in non-tradable activity, especially in terms of employment.

Universities, students and regional economies: a symbiotic relationship?

Dr Tasos Kitsos

We study the regionally heterogeneous effect of student spending in UK NUTS2 regions. Impact analyses of the £44bn students spend each year have so far been agnostic of the regional absorptive capacity to benefit from this expenditure. Building the first UK Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) model and combining it with microdata, we find regional multipliers ranging from 1.11 to 1.37 for each £1 spent by a student. Similar variations are found in spillover effects and the importance of student spending to regional economies. The analysis shows a symbiotic relationship between student spending and regional industrial structures that produce varying impact outcomes.

This blog was written by Dr Tasos Kitsos, Research Fellow, City-REDI / WM REDI, University of Birmingham. 

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The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI / WM REDI or the University of Birmingham

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