Local Economic Development and Policy

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Simona Iammarino STC S410 and Dr Riccardo Crescenzi STC S414


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Local Economic Development and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course deals with the analysis of theoretical and institutional issues, empirical evidence, development pre-requisites and economic development policies in the context of actions to stimulate the economic development of local and regional economies.

The course is split in two parts. Both are concerned with the analysis of local economic development theories and policies. The first part of the course (GY408.1) is focused on the macro and meso-level determinants of regional and local economic development and on the design and implementation of the corresponding 'top-down' policies. The second part of the course (GY408.2) is concerned with 'bottom-up' approaches and focuses on locally initiated and managed processes which may involve a much wider range of actors in shaping and implementing local economic development initiatives.


Term A: This section of the course is generally focused on the macro and meso-level determinants of regional and local economic development and on the capacity of 'top-down' policies to exert an influence on these drivers, promoting growth and social and territorial cohesion. The course starts by examining the existing disparities in regional economic performance in a number of industrial, emerging and developing countries, illustrating the scope and justification for government intervention in this area. The course then considers how different theories and approaches to local and regional economic development identify different macro and meso determinants of economic performance and, consequently, suggest differentiated sets of 'top-down' development policies. With these analytical tools in place, the EU regional policy is used as a case study to discuss the benefits of a 'balanced' approach to the analysis, design and implementation of regional development policies, overcoming the limitations of the one-sided approaches presented in the first part of the course. In this context, special attention will also be devoted to the cases of the United States, China and India in a comparative perspective.


Term B: This section of the course is aimed at understanding the micro foundations of local economic development, that is the determinants and effects of the behaviour, strategies and choices of key economic actors: local firms, both small and large, multinational enterprises, universities and other education and research organisations, government bodies, industry associations, NGOs, local communities, etc. The study of theoretical approaches, empirical evidence and implications of the behaviour of such actors, and their interactions, will help building up the complete analytical framework to interpret the genesis of local economic and innovation systems, their dynamics and evolution over time and the policy options available particularly from a bottom-up and integrated perspective. The lectures and workshops make use of an extended array of empirical examples and case studies across regions and industries, both in advanced and emerging economies, and consider the transferability of lessons and insights across space and time.



20 hours of lectures and 27 hours of seminars in the MT. 18 hours of lectures and 18 hours of workshops in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of workshops in the ST.


Term A: In the MT seminar teaching is based on a combination of seminars and debates.

Term B: In the LT the lectures (two-hour) will be followed by workshops (2-hour), in which students will work on case studies/projects/presentations in small groups of 4-5 people. The ST sessions concern only the second part of the course in the Lent Term (GY408.2/GY415) and consist of Revision and Q&A sessions.


Indicative reading

Both terms' reading lists are mainly based on journal articles available in electronic format. Some of the readings will be chapters from the following books/publications: OECD, Competitive Cities in the Global Economy, 2006; R Capello, Regional Economics, Routledge, 2007; A Pike, A Rodriguez-Pose & J Tomaney, Local and Regional Development, 2006; R Crescenzi & A Rodríguez-Pose, Innovation and Regional Growth in the European Union, Springer, 2011; Lundvall, B-A., Joseph, KJ., Chaminade, C. and Vang, J. (Eds) Handbook of Innovation Systems and Developing Countries, Edward Elgar, 2009; S Iammarino & P McCann, Multinationals and Economic Geography: Location, Technology and Innovation, Edward Elgar 2013.

Reading lists are provided electronically on Moodle.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words).

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15.4
Merit 47.9
Pass 35.9
Fail 0.9

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 100%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)