MSc Local Economic Development

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Rapid technological and informational changes, industrial restructuring and integration have been radically realigning production structures and fostering an unprecedented drive toward the globalisation of the world economy.

Local and regional economies increasingly need new responses and demand specialist skills

World trade has expanded at twice the rate of output and national governments have slowly but decidedly given up their protectionist policies to engage in the new global markets.

In this context, local and regional economies increasingly need new responses and demand specialist skills to exploit the opportunities these changes offer. MSc Local Economic Development prepares students to meet these challenges.

The programme is targeted at those who have recently finished a first degree in a relevant discipline and want to develop specific skills and an understanding of local and regional economic development.

It is also aimed at managers of local economic development institutions who want to widen and deepen their existing knowledge. The programme is an ideal starting point for a career in economic development research.

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) has accredited the programme, which means graduates can become full members of IED without any further investigation provided they meet the other criteria for membership.

Key people

Dr Erica Pani - Programme Director
Prof Neil Lee - Academic Programme Director

Guest Speakers

Dr Elisabetta Marinelli - Special Guest Speaker for Local Capacity and Economic Development Policy

Dr Marinelli is an economist by training, specialised in regional development and research, higher education and innovation policy. Her experience spans from the academic to the public and private sectors. After nearly a decade at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, working with policy makers on innovation and regional development, Dr Marinelli is currently working as a consultant under the trade name "Policy-Research Interface". She plans to develop her career at the intersections between science, business and policy, with the aim of strengthening development processes.

View Elisabetta's website: Pr-i: policy research interface

The aim of pr-i is to be a space where researchers and policy makers can interact as peers, in their commitment to improve lives through evidence-based decision making.  "There is so much these two worlds can do for each other. Through its services, pr-i wants to be an ambassador between the two, providing the skills and knowledge for their interaction”.

MSc Local Economic Development at LSE MSc Local Economic Development at LSE
Introduction to the programme by staff and students

Field trip

MSc Local Economic Development students have the opportunity to visit L'Aquila, Italy, which was heavily damaged by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the city on 6 April 2009.

The field trip focuses on the mammoth reconstruction efforts since the disaster, including the complexities in the structures and governance that oversee this process. Learn more about the trip.

Where are they now?

Previous graduates are working in international organisations (UN systems [including ILO, UNDP, FAO], World Bank, OECD, European Union, World Trade Conference, national and regional governments, international consultancy, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), research centres and universities.

The programme maintains strong connections with our alumni network. LED students and alumni organise regular events, including the annual LED Forum, which brings together industry experts and academics with LED students and alumni to discuss contemporary issues related to local economic development. We also have an active LinkedIn group

Student testimonials

Our students describe their experiences of the programme:

MSc Local Economic Development at LSE | Student Profile MSc Local Economic Development at LSE | Student Profile
MSc Local Economic Development student Fiona Burke tells us why she chose to study at LSE, her university highlight, and what she plans to do after graduation.

Paulina López

paulina lopez

Why did you choose the course/LSE?

I chose LSE because of its cutting edge perspective on social science topics and competitiveness. I was sure I would be with people who are also passionate about development and politics.

I chose the LED programme because I consider it is unique. I am learning how to manage the rapid change in the world and to be aware of the specific needs of regions in order to create fitted & different public policies.

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience?

LSE has an international environment that is friendly and supportive. The most important aspect of the degree is that the academic experience and knowledge acquired is innovative and critical. An additional advantage is the cultural offerings and social life in London.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career?

I definitely want to go back to my home country and apply my knowledge and tools as a policy maker.

Sum up your experience in 3 words:

Knowledge, happiness & personal development.

Chul Kim

Chul KimWhy did you choose the course/LSE? I have worked in the Korean government for several years as an economic policy maker. I needed a new momentum to improve my policy development capacity and I thought that the world class LED program at the LSE was the best course to meet my needs. 

What has been the highlight of your LSE experience? It has been a thrill to participate in classes with the best faculty. The lectures and seminars were very interactive, and there were many things that could be applied directly in the policy field. In addition, I made wonderful friends from all over the world who became my precious assets.

How are you planning to use your degree for your future career? Various theories and policy examples from LSE will help me to make good policies. I would like to use my degree in an international organisation related to economic development as well as in the Korean government.

Sum up your experience in 3 words: More than expected.


Our alumni tell us what they did after graduation:

Stuti Manchanda

Stuti Manchanda

What are you doing now? I have been working as a Research Assistant at Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) since November 2014. I was initially engaged in a project on Tax Administration Reforms which culminated into a published book titled "Challenges of Indian Tax Administration" in which I am co-author of two chapters. Now, I am engaged in a new project and working on sustainability issues pertaining to solar power, land and water. My work involves research, data handling, stakeholder consultations, organising conferences, report writing and policy analysis.  

How was your LSE experience useful in preparing you for where you are now? Foremost, I remember my Program Director's words on the first day of orientation which said that all LED candidates were capable of their own independent but informed arguments and research perspectives - something very different from the approach experienced back home. A multitude of cultures in one classroom taught me so much about the world and has helped me get leads in my work as well as has contributed towards my communication skills. I feel very confident in interacting with individuals from diverse national backgrounds post my experience at LSE which has contributed to my knowledge about global developments. It introduced me to a bridge between theory and practice and that is a key element today in my research and analytical skills at work.  

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Kaleidoscope to learning! 

Arnaud Dyevre

What are you doing now? I am now working at the LSE and the Harvard Kennedy School. I am doing research in knowledge transfer and economic development with Prof. Riccardo Crescenzi who was my thesis advisor when I was in the MSc Local Economic Development. My work consists mostly in doing data cleaning and analysis, along with preparing literature review and presenting the output of our research. We would like to get one or two journal articles out of this work. I would like to start a PhD in Economics or Economic Geography, in September 2017.  

How was your LSE experience useful in preparing you for where you are now? What we learned at the LSE is now essential for my work. My master's degree was focused on themes such as regional development, urban economics, the interaction between globalisation and geographical inequalities, and why only some regions have been able to take advantage of a globalised service economy. We have also acquired very valuable technical skills, such as using statistical packages, performing rigorous econometric analysis and producing maps. Finally and most importantly, the network of great friends, professors and like-minded people that I had while at the LSE was the most stimulating intellectual environment I have ever been part of.

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Intellectual bliss, friends, work

Matt Gordon


What are you doing now? I currently work in the Economic Research and Analysis department at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. We work on transportation, innovation, and other complex economic development projects - all the things we learned about in the Master's program.

How was your LSE experience useful in preparing you for where you are now? Our professors literally wrote the book on this stuff. I keep this at my desk and refer to it all the time.

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Library beanbag cluster. Just kidding. Three words is tough but what stands out is the research, and the international experiences and perspectives of my professors and classmates. 

Germán Zubía

What are you doing now? Currently I am Co-founder of Connovo, a 'social venture builder' focused on scaling the impact of successful social business from other geographies to Latin America.

How was your LSE experience useful in preparing you for where you are now? After a long journey including the steel industry, consultancy, NGOs and public sector agencies, the LED programme was a truly game changer on my career. The programme helped me to strengthen the conceptual base and analytical skills needed to better understand local and regional economic development, opening for me the career path I was looking for. Learning about the different approaches and methodologies needed to stimulate local economies has been extremely insightful and still at the forefront of my current role as a social entrepreneur. 

Marco Salvalaggio

What are you doing now? I am a partner in a Corporate Advisory and Financing boutique which targets SMEs and SME funders in Europe.

How was your LSE experience useful in preparing you for where you are now? I had a background in banking, but the LED program taught me the rigour of in depth research and gave me an understanding of the context in which Local Economic Development is effective and the role that SMEs play in promoting it. I now have the tools to give better advice to my clients beyond their immediate financial needs.

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Hard work, mind-opening, confidence-builder

Philip Mellor


Why did you choose the course/LSE? During my undergraduate degree in Economics, I enrolled on a Development course and enjoyed the debate and discussion that exists within this field. I decided that a master's degree would be the best way to further my knowledge of the subject. I was attracted to LSE due to its excellent reputation both in the UK and overseas. Furthermore, the department's faculty are actively engaged in their respective fields through work and research, which makes the programme pragmatic and relevant. Finally, London is an amazing city to be a student, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of living and studying here.

How has your degree programme prepared you for your future career? I now work as a Consultant at one of the Big Four. Although I haven't pursued a career in economic development, the skills that I have gained during my year at LSE have been invaluable. The courses that I took encouraged me to not only formulate, but to defend my own opinions on a variety of prevalent issues. The ability to confidently defend a position is highly transferable to a range of careers in both the public and private sectors. The programme also allows for considerable flexibility. I, for example, was able to take quantitative courses in econometrics and spatial economic analysis, as the analytical skills that they develop are useful in my chosen career.

What was the highlight of your LSE experience? The highlight of my experience at LSE has been the people I have been fortunate enough to have met. Whether it be other students on the programme, students from the wider LSE community, or staff and faculty - all share a genuine passion for what they do. Learning from the people around you is embedded in the culture of LSE, and the student community is one of the School's most valuable resources.

Sum up your experience in 3 words: Challenging, engaging, enjoyable

Marc LeBlanc

What are you doing now? I am a Policy Officer at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I provide operational and strategic support to our National Board of Directors, while managing special research and outreach projects on national policy issues impacting local governments. 

How was your LSE experience useful in preparing you for where you are now? My experience at LSE provided me the training to be a critical and strategic thinker and to better identify and assess issues impacting FCM's membership. During my time at LSE, I built an international network of LSE students, faculty and alumni, with whom I have formed lasting and successful relationships in both my professional and personal life. I also earned real-world work experience by interning with an MP through the LSE Parliamentary Internship Programme.

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Eye-opening, challenging and enriching.


Contact us

Email: geog.led@lse.ac.uk