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SERC researchers are exploring spatial differences in skills, innovation, enterprise, investment, public sector employment and social capital, and examining the extent to which these explain spatial disparities.  Our research touches on a number of crucial policy issues. 

Nurturing, retaining and attracting human capital is vital for economic success at all scales, as this plays a lead role in determining the earnings, employment and life chances. SERC research in this area comprises four main strands. One strand looks at the role of investments within the family and in schools. Another examines the 'escalator' effect, aiming to identify between-place differences in career progression. A third strand considers the extent to which people's productivity and wages are affected by place differences and local labour market composition. A fourth explores the impacts of internal and international migration on local labour markets and local economies.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are also important drivers of local economic performance. Using UK micro-data SERC is exploring the individual and firm-level processes behind the clustering of innovative activity; the roles of human capital, demography, institutions and area-level characteristics in innovation, and the power of public policy to influence innovation. As carriers of new ideas, entrepreneurs are important agents in economic development. SERC is using micro datasets to test the determinants of entrepreneurship; we examine how individual characteristics interact with location-specific characteristics to determine differences in entrepreneurial activity and business performance across UK regions.

SERC is also examining the way in which the public sector impacts on local labour markets, specifically looking at the extent to which it crowds out or in private sector employment. Finally, SERC researchers are also developing and testing theories and models of networks, social capital, community and society as complementary forces that shape the medium and long-run development prospects of territories, through their effects on the key institutions which underpin growth.


Related Discussion papers

Infrastructure | Skills | Innovation | FDI | Institutions

Infrastructure

From Periphery to Core: Measuring Agglomeration Effects Using High-Speed Rail
Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Arne Feddersen, March 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0172

Walk This Way: Estimating Impacts of Walk in Centres at Hospital Emergency Departments in the English National Health Service
Ted Pinchbeck, December 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0167

Chicken or Egg? The PVAR Econometrics of Transportation
Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Kristoffer Moeller, Nicolai Wendland, March 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0158

The Impact of Better School Accessibility on Student outcomes
Kenzo Asahi, March 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0156

Does Better Rail Access Improve Homeowners' Happiness?: Evidence Based on Micro Surveys in Beijing
Wenjie Wu, April 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0134

My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source
Christian Helmers, Henry Overman, March 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0131

Driving Up Wages: The Effects of Road Construction in Great Britain
Rosa Sanchis-Guarner, October 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0120

New Road Infrastructure: the Effects on Firms
Stephen Gibbons, Teemu Lyytikäinen, Henry Overman, Rosa Sanchis-Guarner, September 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0117

Form or Function? The Impact of New Football Stadia on Property Prices in London
Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Georgios Kavetsos, July 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0087

Homeownership and NIMBYism: A Spatial Analysis of Airport Effects
Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Wolfgang Maennig, July 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0085

If We Build, Will They Pay? Predicting Property Price Effects of Transport Innovations
Gabriel Ahlfeldt, March 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0075

The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities
Gilles Duranton, Matthew A. Turner, October 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0030

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Skills, migration, labour markets

Are People Moving Home Less? An Analysis of Address Changing in England and Wales, 1971-2011, Using the ONS Longitudinal Study
Tony Champion, Ian Shuttleworth, July 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0177

Is Internal Migration Slowing? An Analysis of Four Decades of NHSCR Records for England and Wales
Tony Champion, Ian Shuttleworth, July 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0176

Spillovers from Immigrant Diversity in Cities
Abigail Cooke, Thomas Kemeny, June 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCD0175

The Economic Value of Local Social Networks
Frank Ethridge, Maryann Feldman, Tom Kemeny, Ted Zoller, January 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0170

Neighbourhood Turnover and Teenage Attainment
Stephen Gibbons, Olmo Silva, Felix Weinhardt, August 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0163

Heterogeneous Agglomeration
Giulia Faggio, Olmo Silva, William C. Strange, January 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0152

Immigrant Diversity and Economic Development in Cities: A Critical Review
Thomas Kemeny, November 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0149

Gender and Competition: Evidence from Academic Promotions in France
Clément Bosquet, Pierre-Philippe Combes, Cecila Garcia-Penalosa, November 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0147

Student Satisfaction, League Tables and University Applications
Stephen Gibbons, Eric Neumayer, Richard Perkins, September 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0142

Urban Escalators and Inter-regional Elevators: The Difference that Location, Mobility and Sectoral Specialisation make to Occupational Progression
Tony Champion, Mike Coombes, Ian Gordon, September 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0139

Down and Out in Italian Towns: Measuring the Impact of Economic Downturns on Crime
Carlo Menon, Guido de Blasio, June 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SECDP0137

How Far Do England's Second-Order Cities Emulate London as Human-Capital 'Escalators'?
Tony Champion, Mike Coombes, Ian Gordon, March 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0132

Real Wages, Amenities and the Adjustment of Working Hours Across Regional Labour Markets
Teresa Schlüter, March 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0130

Access All Areas?The Impact of Fees and Background on Student Demand for Postgraduate Higher Education in the UK
Philip Wales, February 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0128

Does Self-Employment Measure Entrepreneurship? Evidence from Great Britain
Giulia Faggio and Olmo Silva, May 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0109

Ambition, Human Capital Acquisition and the Metropolitan Escalator
Ian Gordon, April 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0107

Accounting for Big City Growth in Low Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service Class Consumption
Ian Gordon and Ioannis Kaplanis, April 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0106

Flexible Employment and Cross-Regional Adjustment
Vassilis Monastiriotis, Ioannis Kaplanis, January 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0100

Does Skilled Migration Foster Innovative Performance? Evidence from British Local Areas
Luisa Gagliardi, November 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0097

The Economics of Super-Diversity: Findings from British Cities, 2001-2006
Max Nathan, February 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0068

The Long Term Impacts of Migration in British Cities: Diversity, Wages, Employment and Prices
Max Nathan, February 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0067

Do Neighbours Affect Teenage Outcomes? Evidence from Neighbourhood Changes in England
Stephen Gibbons, Olmo Silva, Felix Weinhardt, November 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0063

Does the Rotten Child Spoil His Companion? Spatial Peer Effects Among Children in Rural India
Christian Helmers, Manasa Patnam, October 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0059

Geography or Economics? A Micro-Level Analysis of the Determinants of Degree Choice in the Context of Regional Economic Disparities in the UK
Philip Wales, September 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0056

Minimum Wages and Schooling: Evidence from the UK's Introduction of a National Minimum Wage
Patricia Rice, May 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0050

Self-Reinforcing Shocks: Evidence from a Resettlement Policy
Aki Kangasharju, Matti Sarvimäki, April 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0047

Moving into the Projects: Social Housing Neighbourhoods and School Performance in England
Felix Weinhardt, February 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0044

Local Human Capital and Its Impact on Local Employment Chances in Britain
Ioannis Kaplanis, January 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0040

Wage Effects from Changes in Local Human Capital in Britain
Ioannis Kaplanis, January 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0039

The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities: Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection
Pierre Philippe Combes, Gilles Duranton, Laurent Gobillon, Diego Puga, Sébastien Roux, October 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0027

Valuing School Quality Using Boundary Discontinuities
Stephen Gibbons, Stephen Machin, Olmo Silva, March 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0018

Long-Term Effects of Forced Migration
Markus Jäntti, Matti Sarvimäki, Roope Uusitalo, March 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0015

Peers and Achievement in England's Secondary Schools
Steve Gibbons, Shqiponja Telhaj, July 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0001

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Innovation

Moving People with Ideas - Innovation, Inter-regional Mobility and Firm Heterogeneity
Riccardo Crescenzi, Luisa Gagliardi, April 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0174

Employment and Technological Change: On the Geography of Labour Market Adjustments
Luisa Gagliardi, October 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0165

Speed 2.0. Evaluating Access to Universal Digital Highways
Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Pantelis Koutroumpis, Tommaso Valletti, July 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0161

Culturally Clustered or in the Cloud? Location of Internet Start-ups in Berlin
Kristoffer Moeller, March 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0157

Do Inventors Talk to Strangers? On Proximity and Collaborative Knowledge Creation
Riccardo Crescenzi, Max Nathan, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, January 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0153

Here Be Startups: Exploring a young digital cluster in Inner East London
Max Nathan, Emma Vandore, November 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0146

Cultural Diversity, Cities and Innovation: firm Effects or City Effects?
Neil Lee, October 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0144

Do Large Departments Make Academics More Productive? Agglomeration and Peer Effects in Research
Clément Bosquet, Pierre-Philippe Combes, April 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0133

My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source
Christian Helmers, Henry Overman, March 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0131

Top Team Demographics, Innovation and Business Performance: Findings from English Firms and Cities 2008-9
Max Nathan, March 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0129

The Bright Side of Social Capital: How ‘Bridging’ Makes Italian Provinces More Innovative
Riccardo Crescenzi, Luisa Gagliardi, Marco Percoco, November 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0096

Ethnic Inventors, Diversity and Innovation in the UK: Evidence from Patents Microdata
Max Nathan, October 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0092

R&D, Innovation and Exporting
Richard Harris, John Moffat, March 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0073

Does Cultural Diversity Help Innovation in Cities? Evidence from London Firms
Neil Lee, Max Nathan, February 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0069

Plant-level Determinants of Total Factor Productivity in Great Britain, 1997-2006
Richard Harris, John Moffat, January 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0064

The Impact of University Research on Corporate Patenting
Christian Helmers, Mark Rogers, September 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0054

Stars and Comets: An Exploration of the Patent Universe
Carlo Menon, November 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0037

Why Do Some Firms Undertake R&D Whereas Others Do Not?
Richard Harris, Mary Trainor, April 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0020

Models of Regional Growth: Past, Present and Future
Richard Harris, July 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0002

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FDI

On the Relative Importance of Agglomeration Economies in the Location of FDI across British Regions
Jonathan Jones, Colin Wren, August 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0089

Plant-level Determinants of Total Factor Productivity in Great Britain, 1997-2006
Richard Harris, John Moffat, January 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0064

The Dynamics of FDI Location: A Markov Analysis for British Regions
Jonathan Jones, Colin Wren, November 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0035

Spillover and Backward Linkage Effects of FDI: Empirical Evidence for the UK
Richard Harris, March 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0016

FDI Location Across British Regions and Inward Investment Policy
Jonathan Jones, Colin Wren, December 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0013

Foreign Direct Investment and Prospects for the Northern Region
Jonathan Jones, Colin Wren, August 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0004

Re-Investment and the Survival of Foreign-Owned Plants
Jonathan Jones, Colin Wren, August 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0003

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Institutions

Relocation of Public Sector Workers: Evaluating a Place-based Policy
Giulia Faggio, February 2014
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0155 | Abstract

The Effect of Public Sector Employment on Local Labour Markets
Giulia Faggio and Henry Overman, June 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0111

Firm Size and Judicial Efficiency in Italy: Evidence from the Neighbour's Tribunal
Silvia Giacomelli and Carlo Menon, May 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0108

Family Types and the Persistence of Regional Disparities in Europe
Gilles Duranton, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Richard Sandall, November 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0009

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