GY404      Half Unit
Local Economic Development: Jobs, Poverty, Policy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Local Economic Development and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


A good background is required in one of the fields of economic geography, economics, public policy, social policy or regional and urban studies.

Course content

Economic change is reshaping local economies, with important implications for work, incomes and poverty. Trade and new technologies are polarising labour markets and creating new types of employment in both the developed and developing world. Despite global falls in poverty, living standards in many disadvantaged regions have been stagnant. And while some cities and regions have managed to create skilled jobs, others have struggled to do so. How can policymakers manage this change and create good jobs in disadvantaged cities and regions? How can local policymakers reduce poverty and disadvantage?

This course focuses on the relationship between local economic development, labour markets, poverty and living standards. Each week we cover academic theory and evidence and then relate this to a current policy challenge. Topics include the geography of poverty, spatial labour markets, labour market change, the challenge of high- and low-skills equilibriums, and the geography of social mobility. The second half of the term focuses on the critical analysis of policy agendas. Topics include the impact of high-tech strategies on low-wage workers, spatial targeting of anti-poverty efforts, microfinance and entrepreneurship, and Inclusive Growth.


30 hours of seminars in the LT.

3 hours per week with a reading week in Week 6 of LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to make presentations and participate actively in seminars.

Indicative reading

OECD. 2014. All on board: Making inclusive growth happen. Paris: OECD; E Moretti The New Geography of Jobs, 2013; How Regions Grow, OECD, 2009; Lee et al. Cities, Growth and Poverty: Evidence review, JRF, 2014.  


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Other (25%).

The other assessment is a critical review (2500 words) of an economic development strategy.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.6
Merit 76.6
Pass 8.8
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2017/18: 43

Average class size 2017/18: 43

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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

Course survey results

(2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 70%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


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