GY415      Half Unit
Local Capacity and Economic Development Policy

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Simona Iammarino STC S410


This course is available on the MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is not available as an outside option.

If you are taking an Environment Programme, please note that your dissertation surgeries of Week 6 would likely clash with the fieldtrip, please consult with your Programme Director.

Course content

This 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, NGOs, and local communities. The study of different theoretical approaches, empirical evidence and implications of the behaviour of such actors, and their interactions and linkages, will help building up the analytical framework to interpret the genesis of localised economic systems, their dynamics and evolution over time and the policy options available, particularly, but not exclusively, from a bottom-up perspective. We will 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 over space and time. The course is particularly concerned with place-sensitive approaches and locally initiated and managed processes which may involve a wide range of actors in shaping and implementing local economic development initiatives.

There is a 3-day field-trip (not including travel time) to L’Aquila, Italy, associated with this course. The field-trip will take place during the first half of the Michaelmas Term Reading Week (Week 6). Students should be aware that, as participation is voluntary, they will need to fund themselves. Participation  is encouraged, however it will not be assessed in any way. Students who decide they do not want to participate will not be detrimentally affected on the course. Further information will be provided during the first workshop of GY415 in Week 1. Estimated costs will be communicated to all offer holders in advance of registration.


30 hours (1 hour and 30 minutes of lecture, followed by a short break and 1 hour and 30 minutes of workshop with teamwork and student presentations) in the MT. 3-hour overall per week, from Week 1 to 11, with the exception of Week 6 (Reading week) for the fieldtrip. In Week 10 of the MT there will also be an additional 4-hour revision and surgery session for the assessed coursework.

Formative coursework

Policy Brief outline to be submitted by week 5 and group presentations on case studies in different weeks of MT: written feedback will be provided on all formative coursework in order to help prepare for the assessed Policy Brief.

Indicative reading

The course is mainly based on academic articles and papers, all available through @reading list. Some chapters will also be used from books such as: A. Pike, A. Rodriguez-Pose & J. Tomaney, Local and Regional Development, 2006; B-A. Lundvall, KJ Joseph, C. Chaminade & J. Vang (eds.), Handbook of Innovation Systems and Developing Countries, 2009; J Cantwell & E Amann (eds.), Innovative Firms in Emerging Market Countries, 2012; S Iammarino & P McCann Multinationals and Economic Geography. Location, Technology and Innovation, 2013.

In general, all readings are electronically available from the LSE Library unless otherwise indicated.


Policy brief (100%) in the MT.

A 2,500 word Policy Brief is due in the week after the end of MT.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2018/19: 52

Average class size 2018/19: 52

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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