Cities, Jobs and Economic Change

This programme takes an internationally comparative, cross-disciplinary, and multidimensional approach to analysing economic and technological change, polarised labour markets, and geographic divides in education, employment opportunities, political attitudes, and cultural values. It engages quantitative and qualitative researchers to understand both broad economic processes and everyday lived experiences.

We argue for a move away from the neo-classical economics framework which dominates policy-making, towards consideration of market failures and the importance of planning.

Professor David Soskice

This research programme is led by Professor Neil Lee

The information technology revolution has led to huge changes in society, reshaping social relationships, the type of work we do, and patterns of consumption. Many countries have seen a decline in mid-skill, mid-wage jobs, with polarisation between high skill, high pay employment and low skill, low pay (and often precarious) work. One striking feature of this economic change has been its tendency to concentrate economic prosperity in selected locations. Once-thriving urban areas are ‘left behind’, struggling to replace their historical economic purpose. Discontent with this uneven geography of opportunity is manifest in the rise of populist politics across Europe and the United States, challenging the stability of democratic societies.

Our research programme ties together LSE academics who are interested in developing an internationally comparative, cross-disciplinary and multidimensional approach to these issues. Other strands will investigate the institutional responses to technological change, such as the failure of education systems to meet the increased demand for high skilled labour and sub-optimal investment in research and development. We will engage quantitative and qualitative researchers to understand both broad economic processes and everyday lived experiences.

Research projects

Research focus and aims 

The programme is organised around four core problems:

1. First is the problem of managing growing spatial economic inequality. Central governments have policies to manage the national economy, but what can help poorer cities and towns?  

2. Second is strengthening the link between increased aggregate demand and quality employment. Some of our fastest-growing, most ‘successful’ cities also contain the most precarious and poorest workers. How do ‘good’ jobs get created, and how can labour market inequalities between men and women or across ethnic groups be reduced?  

3. Third, how can successful, growing urban areas ensure a strong link between economic growth and individual human welfare? This will include investigating the relational aspects and lived experience of inequality in urban areas, and the relationship between inequalities and social mobility.  

4. Finally, to what extent is growing spatial inequality leading to social division? In particular, processes of selective migration are both a cause and a consequence of political divisions between richer and poorer places. We are working to unpick the implications of these processes and how they can be understood. 

The programme aims to produce the following outputs:

Ethnographic solutions to inequalities in South Asian advicescapes

This project led by Professor David Lewis is part of the Atlantic Equity Challenge organised by the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity.

The provision of business advice is an important, yet little studied, aspect of contemporary social and economic change in the Global South, with important implications for the reproduction of rural-urban and social inequalities. An extensive industry of business advice-giving exists in South Asia, involving public and non-governmental sectors, and increasingly, private firms. This shift reflects a growing private sector emphasis in development, towards economic growth driven initiatives, entrepreneurship, and a focus on small and medium enterprises. This transformation has altered streams of business advice and finance: steering microfinance into business finance, and shifting informal lending towards formal debt.

The context for this study is the expanding un- and under-employed youth demographic that exists against the backdrop of business and entrepreneurship that is increasingly central to development initiatives. The focus of the study is the practice of giving business advice to young people aged 18 to 25 as potential entrepreneurs. Such advicescapes are more complex than they appear to formal advice-delivery agents, and entangle kin, religious leaders and elders as informal advice agents as well. The presence of discriminatory practices in advicescapes are less visible to these formal advice providers, who may be unwitting perpetrators of bias. Attitudes and other subtle aspects are neither monitored nor measured. These issues lend themselves to the ethnographic approach to be taken in the proposed research. The project’s overarching research question is: “Can entrepreneurial advice-giving address inequalities of access and outcome for young people in rural and urban south Asia?”

Read more about the project here

Social media and the crisis of urban inequality: transnational analyses of humanitarian responses across the Middle East, South Asia and Africa

This project led by Dr Romola Sanyal is part of the Atlantic Equity Challenge organised by the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity.

Spanning three sites in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, this project will examine how social media is used to navigate the terrain between humanitarianism and inequality in the Global South. Inequality should not only be studied in humanitarian crisis settings, but should itself be seen as a humanitarian crisis, especially in cities. The inequality of the social and legal conditions of the urban poor, migrants and refugees, which limit their access to jobs and housing, are multidimensional, produced vertically through income/wealth, horizontally through ethnic identity, migration status, gender and age, and through space and institutional practices.

The project will consider how social and communications media play a key role in alleviating and exacerbating inequalities. Social and communications media are tools of self-organisation that help displaced people and migrants arrive in cities, and access housing, jobs and transportation. But they also entrench inequalities, with a disconnect between the kinds of information that migrants, displaced and other community members receive and that are available to civil society, state and humanitarian actors. Thus information and communication can shape support and livelihoods, and also continue the exclusion of people as surplus populations. This role of social media as both enabler and excluder in conditions of crises remains underresearched, and is an area requiring policy development to improve rapid responses to urban shocks.

Read more about the project here


 LSE-based members: 

Dr Mark Fransham

Visiting Fellow, LSE III


Dr David Hope

Visiting Fellow, LSE III and Lecturer in Political Economy, King’s College London


Dr Tom Kemeny

Visiting Fellow, LSE III and Senior Lecturer in Economic Development, Queen Mary, University of London and Visiting Fellow at III

Andrew McNeil bio pic

Andrew McNeil

PhD Candidate, Department of Government, LSE 

Picture of Frieder Mitsch

Frieder Mitsch

Research Assistant and LSE III Doctoral Programme

Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch

Professor Kirsten Sehnbruch

Distinguished Policy Fellow, LSE III

Professor David Soskice

Professor David Soskice

School Professor of Political Science and Economics, LSE, and Research Director, LSE III

Dr Susanne Wessendorf

Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III

Professor Chrisanthi Avgerou

Professor Chrisanthi Avgerou

Professor of Information Systems, Department of Management, LSE 

Beatriz Jambrina Canseco

Beatriz Jambrina Canseco

Doctoral Programme, LSE III 

Professor Simona Iammarino

Professor Simona Iammarino

Professor of Economic Geography, LSE III 

Gareth Jones

Professor Gareth Jones

Director, Latin America and Caribbean Centre, LSE 

Professor Michael Storper

Professor Michael Storper

Professor of Economic Geography, LSE 

Professor Nicola Lacey

Professor Nicola Lacey

School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, LSE 

Professor Catherine Boone

Professor Catherine Boone

Professor of African Political Economy and Programme Director, African Development, LSE 


Dr Pawel Bukowski

Research Officer in Labour Markets, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE 


Dr Chiara Cavaglia

Research Economist, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE 

Dr Charlotte Haberstroh

Dr Charlotte Haberstroh

LSE Fellow in Public Policy /Comparative Politics, Department of Government, lse 

Professor Sara B Hobolt (FBA)

Professor Sara Hobolt

Sutherland Chair in European Institutions, Department of Government, LSE 

Professor Stephen Machin

Professor Stephen Machin

Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE 


Professor Sandra McNally

Programme Director,  Education and Skills, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE 

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch

Professor of Social Psychology, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE 

Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE 


External programme members:

Jo Blanden (@JoBlanden) | Twitter

Dr Jo Blanden

Reader in Economics, University of Surrey

Professor Wendy Carlin

Professor of Economics, University College London and Research Fellow, Centre for Economic Policy Research

Sumaiya Rahmana

PhD student, University of Surrey


Davide Luca

Dr Davide Luca

Visiting Fellow




 Arman, H. Iammarino, S. Ibarra-Olivo, E and Lee, N. (2022) Systems of innovation, diversification, and the R&D trap: A case study of Kuwait. Science and Public Policy 49(2), 179-190.   

Arman, H. Iammarino, S. Ibarra-Olivo, J and Lee, N. (2021) Breaking out of the innovation trap? Towards promoting private R&D investment in Kuwait. LSE Middle East Centre.   

Bandeira Morais, M. Swart, J and Jordaan, J. (2021) Economic Complexity and Inequality: Does Regional Productive Structure Affect Income Inequality in Brazilian States?. Sustainability 13(2).  

Brain, I and Prieto, J. (2021) Understanding Changes in the Geography of Opportunity Over Time: the case of Santiago, Shile. LSE III Working paper 63.  

Brain, I and Prieto, J. (2021) Understanding changes in the geography of opportunity over time: the case of Santiago, Chile. Cities, 114.   

Bukowski, P and Novokmet, F. (2021) Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892-2015. Journal of Economic Growth, 1-53.  

Bukowski, P. Clark, G. Gaspar, A and Peto, R. (2021) Social Mobility and Political Regimes: Intergenerational Mobility in Hungary, 1949-2017. LSE III Working Paper 67.  

Casadei, P and Iammarino, S. (2021) Trade policy shocks in the UK textile and apparel value chain: Firm perceptions of Brexit uncertainty. Journal of International Business Policy 4(2), 262-285.  

Coe, N. Iammarino, S. Kerr, W. Patacchini, E and Robert-Nicoud, F. (2021) Into a third decade. Journal of Economic Geography 21(2), 165-168.  

Cowling, M. Brown, R and Lee, N. (2021) The geography of business angel investments in the UK: Does local bias (still) matter?. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 53(5), 1180-1200.   

Denti, D and Iammarino, S. (2021) The geography of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG): support services and the reporting of sexual crimes in England and Wales. Women, Peace and Security.  

Denti, D and Iammarino, S. (2022) Coming out of the woods: do local support services influence the propensity to report sexual violence? Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation 193, 334-352.  

Diemer, A. Iammarino, S. Perkins, R and Gros, A. (2021) Technology, resources and geography in a paradigm shift: the case of critical and conflict materials in ICTs. Department of Geography and Environment 29.  

Diemer, A. Iammarino, S. Rodriguez-Pose, A and Storper, M. (2022) The regional development trap in Europe. Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography 2209.  

Evenhuis, E. Lee, N. Martin, R and Tyler, P. (2021) Rethinking the political economy of place: challenges of production and inclusion. Cambridge Journal or Regions, Economy and Society 14(1), 3-24.   

Evenhuis, E. Lee, N. Martin, R and Tyler, P. (2021) The task of governments is not simply to build ‘back’ better after COVID-19, but to rebuild forward better, towards an inclusive model of economic growth. British Politics and Policy at LSE.  

Feldman, M. Guy, F and Iammarino, S. (2021) Regional income disparities, monololy and finance. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 14(1), 25-49.  

Feldman, M. Guy, F. Iammarino, S and Ioramashvili, C. (2021) Gathering round Big Tech: how the market for acquisitions reinforces regional inequalities in the US. Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Research Paper 21(1).  

Fransham, M and Koch, I. (2021) Social polarisation at the local level: why inequality must be re-politicised from within different localities. British Politics and Policy at LSE.   

Fransham, M. Herbertson, M. Pop, M. Banderia Morais, M and Lee, N. (2022) Level best? The levelling up agenda and UK regional inequality. LSE III Working Paper 80.  

Gagliardi, L. Iammarino, S and Rodriguez-Pose, A. (2021) Exposure to OFDI and regional labour markets: evidence for routine and non-routine jobs in Great Britain. Journal of Economic Geography 21(5), 783-806.  

Gonzalez, P. Sehnbruch, K. Apablaza, M. Mendez, R and Arriagada, V. (2021) A multidimensional approach to measuring quality of employment (QoE) seprivation in six central American countries. Social Indicators Research 158(1), 107-141.  

Haus-Reve, S. Cooke, A. Fitjar, R and Kemeny, T. (2021) Does assimilation shape the economic value of immigrant diversity?. Journal of Economic Geography 97(2), 117-139.  

Hopkin, J and Voss, D. (2022) Political Parties and Growth Models. Oxford University Press.  

Hopkin, J. (2021) Brexit e il capotalismo Britannico. Il Mulino 70(2), 69-78.  

I, Koch. Fransham, M. Cant, S. Ebrey, J. Glucksberg, L and Savage, M. (2021) Social polarisation at the local level: a four-town comparative study on the challenges of politicising inequality in Britain. Sociology 55(1), 3-29.  

Iammarino, S and Casadei, P. (2021) Brexit and the UK textile and apparel value chain: a crisis foretold. LSE Business Review.  

Iammarino, S. Sodano, T and Vittorino, G. (2021) Firms’ Perceptions of Barriers to Innovation and resilience: The Italian Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia during the Crisis. ScienzeRegionali 20(1), 25-54.  

Iddawela, Y. Lee, N and Rodriguez-Pose, A. (2021) Quality of sub-national government and regional develipment in Africa. LSE III Working Paper 59.   

Kemeny, T and Storper, M. (2022) The changing shape of spatial inequality in the United States. SocArXiv  

Kenny, M and Luca, D. (2021) The urban-rural polarisation of political disenchantment: an investigation of social and political attitudes in 30 European countries. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 14(3), 565-582.  

Lacey, N. Soskice, D. Cheliotis, L and Xenakis, S. (2021) Tracing the relationship between inequality, crime and punishment: space, time and politics. Oxford University Press.   

Lee, N and Rodriguez-Pose, A. (2021) Entrepreneurship and the fight against poverty in US cities. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 53(1), 31-52.   

Li, G. Ascani, A and Iammarino, S. (2022) The material basis of modern technologies: a case study on rare metals. Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research Working Papers 59  

Linsi, L. Hopkin, J and Jaupart, P. (2021) Exporting inequality: US investors and the Americanisation of executive pay in the United Kingdom. Review of International Political Economy, 1-27.  

Luca, D and Modrego, F. (2021) Stronger together? Assessing the causal effect of inter-municipal cooperation on the efficiency of small Italian municiplaities. Journal of Regional Science 61(1), 261-293.  

Luca, D and Proietti, P. (2022) Hosting to skim: organised crime and the reception of asylum seekers in Italy. Regional Studies, 1-15.  

Luca, D. (2021) National elections, sub-national growth: the politics of Turkey’s provincial economic dynamics under AKP rule. Journal of Economic Geography.  

Luca, D. Terrero-Davila, J. Stein, J and Lee, N. (2022) Progressive Cities: Urban-rural polarisation of social values and economic development around the world. LSE III Working Paper 74.   

McNeil, A and Haberstroh, C. (2022) Intergenerational social mobility and the Brexit vote: how social origins and destinations divide Britain. European Journal of Political Research.  

McNeil, A. (2022) Intergenerational social mobility and anti-system support: the journey matters. LSE III Working Paper 75.   

McNeil, A. Lee, N and Luca, D. (2022) The long shadow of local decline: birthplace economic conditions, political attitudes, and long-term individual economic outcomes in the UK. LSE III Working Paper 76.   

Mitsch, F and McNeil, A. (2022) Political Implications of ‘Green’ Infrastructure in One’s ‘Backyard’: The Green Party’s Catch-22. LSE III Working Paper 81.  

Mitsch, F. Lee, N and Morrow, L. (2021) Faith no more? The divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe. LSE III Working Paper 64.   

Osman, T and Kemeny, T. (2022) Local job multipliers revisited. Journal of Regional Science 62(1), 150-170.  

Prenzel, P and Iammarino, S. (2021) Labour force aging and the composition of regional human capital. Journal of Economic Geography 97(2), 140-163.  

Prieto, J. (2021) A Multidimensional Approach to Measuring Economic Insecurity: the case of Chile. LSE III Working Paper 70.  

Prieto, J. (2021) Poverty traps and affluence shields: modelling the persistence of income position in Chile. Research on Economic Inequality: Poverty, Inequality and Shocks.  

Prieto, J. (2022) A multidimensional approach to measuring economic insecurity: the case of Chile. Social Indicators Research, 1-33.  

Reeves, A. Fransham, M. Stewart, K and Patrick, R. (2022) Does capping social security harm health? A natural experiment in the UK. Social Policy and Administration 56(3), 345-359.  

Rodriguez-Pose, A. Lee, N and Lipp, C. (2021) Golfing with Trump: Social capital, decline, inequality, and the rise of populism in the US. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 14(3), 457-481.  

Scandura, A and Iammarino, S. (2021) Academic engagement with industry: the role of research quality and experience. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 1-37.  

Sehnbruch, K. (2021) Measuring the Quality of Employment (QoE): A multidimensional approach. 33rd Annual Meeting 2021.   

Sehnbruch, K. Gonzalez, P. Apablaza, M. Mendez, R. Apablaza, M and Arrigada, V. (2021) A multidimensional approach to measuring quality of employment (QoE) deprivation in six central American countries. Social Indicators Research 158, 107-141.  

Sehnbruch, K. Mendez, R. Gonzalez, P and Apablaza, M. (2022) Regional inequality in multi-dimensional quality of employment (QoE): insights from Chile, 1996-2017. Analisis.   

Soskice, D. (2021) Transformations of advanced capitalist democracies in the digital era. European Review of Labour and Research 27(4), 527-539.  

Soskice, D. (2022) Rethinking Varieties of Capitalism and growth theory in the ICT era. Review of Keynesian Economics 10(2), 222-241.  

Suss, J. (2021) Local economic inequality in the UK: patterns, determinants, and behavioural consequences. PhD thesis.   

Suss, J. (2021) Measuring local, salient economic inequality in the UK. SSRN 3958731.  

Suss, J. Angeli, M and Eckley, P. (2021) Gender, age and nationality diversity in UK banks. Bank of England Working Paper 929.  

Suss, J. Bholat, D. Gillespie, A and Reader, T. (2021) Organisational culture and bank risk. Bank of England Working Paper 912.  

Yang, Y and Kemeny, T. (2022) Are mixed neighbourhoods more socially cohesive? Evidence from Nanjing, China. Urban Geography, 1-21.   

Events and recordings 



The Evolution of Black Neighborhoods in the U.S., 1970-2020

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 10 May 2022, 12:30 to 1:30pm. Online public event. 

Watch the video. Listen to the podcast

Speaker: Professor Michael Lens,  Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy, Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA 

Chair: Professor Neil Lee, Professor of Economic Geography,  and Convenor, Cities, Jobs and Economic Change Research programme, LSE III 


Power, Privilege, Parties: The Shaping of Modern Britain

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Watch the videoListen to the podcast

Speaker: Simon Kuper, Writer, Financial Times and Author, Chums 

Discussants: Professor Jane Gingrich, Professor in Comparative Political Economy, University of Oxford;
Professor Mike Savage, Martin White Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Convenor, Wealth, Elites and Tax Justice Research programme, LSE III 

Chair: Professor Neil Lee, Professor of Economic Geography,  and Convenor, Cities, Jobs and Economic Change Research programme, LSE III 


How Can We Create Good Jobs in a Time of Crisis? 

Hosted by LSE Festival: How Do We Get to a Post-COVID World?

Tuesday 14 June 2022 1:00pm to 2:00pm. Online and in-person public event. 

Watch the video. Listen to the podcast

Speakers: Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, Oxford Martin Citi Fellow, Institute for New Economic Thinking and Director, Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Work, University of Oxford; Dr Anna Valero, Senior Policy Fellow, Centre for Economic Performance, Deputy Director of the Programme on Innovation and Diffusion (POID) and Associate, Grantham Research Institute, LSE; Rebecca McDonald, Head of Economics, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Chair: Professor Neil Lee, Professor of Economic Geography, and Convenor, Cities, Jobs and Economic Change Research programme, LSE III