National Productivity Week 27th January 2025 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


Understanding endowments of regional capital and investment in the UK regions and their links with productivity

This project is a mixed-methods approach to understanding the patterns of investments across UK regions, particularly in relation to business response to the COVID-19 crisis and prospects for recovery. While it is useful to investigate from a quantitative point of view how much the UK regions are changing their investment behaviour and how these changes impact on productivity, this qualitative perspective sheds light on companies’ perceptions and how they measure investments and new types of assets in practice. This differs significantly across sectors and changes to new patterns have accentuated during the pandemic.

Moreover, many companies have seen the value of their assets collapse and some have disappeared altogether. This research uses a combination of micro-data sources to compute regional-level measures of capital for the UK. These sources include the QCAS (The Quarterly Acquisitions and Disposals of Capital Survey) and the Business Structure Database (BSD). It draws from additional ONS sources such as Annual Business Survey (ABS), the Business Enterprise Research Development (BERD), the Annual Purchases Survey (APS), and a commercial database (FAME). It offers a multi-level approach, by mapping several micro-level data sources, including data at firm level and local Kind of Activity Units (KAU) level.

The aim is to construct measures of capital for the UK at the GOR level/NUTS1/2) that are in line with national estimates over time and with the best industry breakdown possible. The project also undertakes a new mapping exercise. Firstly, it maps the local Kind of Activity Units (KAUs) on the business register (BSD) to the Quarterly Acquisitions and Disposals of Capital Assets Survey (QCAS). The QCAS collects quarterly information on the value of capital assets bought and sold by businesses in the UK within the private sector. It provides essential information for the UK National Accounts and feeds into the compilation of gross fixed capital formation.

Lead researcher Ana Rincon-Aznar