Not available in 2020/21
GY410      Half Unit
Economics of Local and Regional Development

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Riccardo Crescenzi STC S417


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MPhil/PhD in Economic Geography, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies 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.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator.

Course content

Why do some regions and territories perform systematically better than others in terms of economic development and wealth? What are the key drivers of local and regional economic performance? How can local and regional economic development policies boost economic activity and improve socio-economic conditions in disadvantaged areas? Globalisation and technological change have challenged the 'traditional' answers to these questions and call for new analytical and policy tools. This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the macro and meso-level determinants of regional and local economic development and of the policies influencing these drivers. After examining the existing disparities in regional economic performance between and within a number of advanced, emerging and developing countries, the course illustrates the scope and justification for government intervention in this area. Various theories and approaches to local and regional economic development, leading to different policy prescriptions, are analysed in order to identify different macro and meso determinants of economic performance (from innovation and human capital to knowledge spillovers and global networks). In particular, the course dwells on the regional policy of the European Union (EU) - one of the most important large-scale regional policy experiences - in order to discuss the pros and cons of existing policy tools and illustrate the benefits of a 'balanced' approach to the analysis, design, management and implementation of regional and local economic development policies in a globalising world. In this context, special attention will also be devoted to the cases of the United States, China and India in a comparative perspective.


20 hours of lectures and 27 hours of seminars in the MT.

Seminar teaching consist of a combination of seminars and debates.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the MT in order to prepare for the Take Home Exam.

Indicative reading

H W Armstrong & J Taylor, Regional Economics and Policy, Macmillan, 2000; R Capello, Regional Economics 2nd Edition, Routledge, 2016; R Crescenzi & M Percoco Geography, Institutions and Regional Economic Performance, Springer,  2013; R Crescenzi & A Rodríguez-Pose Innovation and Regional Growth in the European Union, Springer, 2011; C Jones Introduction to Economic Growth 2nd edition, Norton 2001; P McCann Urban and Regional Economics, OUP 2001; A Pike, A Rodríguez-Pose & J Tomaney, Local and regional development 2nd Edition, Routledge, 2017.

A number of more specialized texts will be recommended at the beginning of the course.


Take-home assessment (100%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19
Merit 67.5
Pass 12.7
Fail 0.8

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2019/20: 62

Average class size 2019/20: 59

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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