Jul 4th, 2022

Levelling Up: The Need for an Institutionally Coordinated Approach to National and Regional Productivity

The paper argues that the UK’s endemic regional-national productivity problems cannot be addressed by the UK’s current institutional and governance set-up. The economic development aims of the Levelling Up White Paper need to matched by an institutional schema which allows for proper analysis, consideration and engagement of multiple perspectives and stakeholders to be fed directly into the design of the policy making and policy-delivery process. This requires the ability to coordinate different perspectives and interests so as to facilitate learning and coordination within and across the systems governing economic development, in order to help develop a suite of policy actions which can be deployed medium and long-term.

This capability currently does not exist in the UK governance and institutional system, and this paper therefore argues that the establishment of such an institution, body or forum is essential in order to fill the current governance vacuum. The paper argues that the nature, form and logic of such a body can be gleaned by observing various international comparator bodies which undertake different aspects of the types of roles and tasks that a UK body must necessarily undertake.

The six international comparator cases drawn from across four countries comprise three national bodies and three regional bodies. The three national bodies are: The Australian Productivity Commission, the New Zealand Productivity Commission, and the Netherlands Socio-Economic Council, while the three regional bodies are the North of The Netherlands Socio-Economic Council, the New South Wales Productivity Commissioner, and the New York Regional Plan Association. The options for a UK body comprising elements of these six institutions are discussed in detail.


  • Geography & Place




P.McCann (2022) Levelling Up: The Need for an Institutionally Coordinated Approach to National and Regional Productivity Productivity Insights Paper No. 011, The Productivity Institute.