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Regional productivity, inequalities, potential causes, and institutional challenges

The Productivity Agenda: Chapter 9

Productivity differences in the UK have been increasing for some 35 years. For instance, London’s productivity is more than one and a half times the UK average, while the regional productivity divergence in the UK is among the most extreme of all OECD countries.

There is a growing realisation that England’s governance is characterised by some very distinctive pathologies and problems, including an unusually centralised governance model, which might well have played a key role in constraining the economic prospects of England’s second-tier cities and their hinterlands.

It is increasingly accepted that establishing new forms of governing authority and capacity at levels beneath the central state can generate a range of social and civic benefits, but more consideration is needed into what kinds of capability and expertise are needed from increased devolution.

The paper also includes a number of policy implications.

Authors: Michael Kenny (University of Cambridge), Philip McCann (The University of Manchester), Raquel Ortega-Argilés (The University of Manchester), Andrew Westwood (The University of Manchester)


  • Productivity Studies




M. Kenny, P. McCann, R. Ortega-Argilés, A. Westwood (2023) Regional productivity, inequalities, potential causes, and institutional challenges. Productivity Insights Paper No.026, The Productivity Institute.