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How should policy address spatial economic disparities? What governance mechanisms are most appropriate for development and delivery of policy? Work in this programme draws on the centre's research to provide answers to these questions.

One strand of research in this programme explores the effects of devolution on the spatial economy, and connections between devolution and local economic outcomes. Recent research suggests that, under certain conditions, devolution has accompanied entrenched sub-national spatial disparities – for example, through zero-sum competition. However, UK policymakers are pursuing a major programme of localism, granting English cities significant new fiscal and policy powers. SERC research will help shed light on localism’s likely impacts.

We are also conducting a range of other policy evaluations, looking at the impact of economic development, housing and planning policies, and transport improvements, in the UK and elsewhere.

More broadly, work in this programme draws together lessons from the rest of SERC’s research, and communicates the main policy lessons emerging from our work. We do this using a series of policy briefings, social media and structured work with central government, delivery agencies and a number of UK cities.

Discussion and Policy papers

Public Policy | Governance | Policy Papers

Public policy and policy evaluations

Regulating Housing Vacancies Away? The Paradoxical Effects of Mismatch
Paul Cheshire, Christian A. L. Hilber, Hans R. A. Koster, July 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0181

What Makes Cities More Productive? Agglomeration Economies and the Role of Urban Governance: Evidence from 5 OECD Countries
Rudiger Ahrend, Emily Farchy, Ioannis Kaplanis, Alexander C. Lembcke, July 2015
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0178

Local Institutions and Local Economic Growth: The State of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England - A National Survey
David Marlow, Anja McCarthy, Peter O'Brien, Andy Pike, John Tomaney, November 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0150 | Abstract

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

The Importance of Time Zone Assignment: Evidence from Residential Electricity Consumption
Felix Weinhardt, January 2013
SERC Discussion Paper SERDDP0126

The Causal Effect of Credit Guarantees for SMEs: Evidence from Italy
Alessio D'Ignazio, Carlo Menon, December 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0123

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

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

Do Homeowners Benefit Urban Neighborhoods? Evidence from Housing Prices
Mika Kortelainen, Tuukka Saarimaa, May 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0110

Great Britain’s Second-Order City Regions in Recessions, 1978-2010
Tony Champion and Alan Townsend, April 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0104

The Causal Effects of an Industrial Policy
Chiara Criscuolo, Ralf Martin, Henry G. Overman, John Van Reenen, January 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0098

Does Additional Spending Help Urban Schools? An Evaluation Using Boundary Discontinuities
Stephen Gibbons, Sandra McNally, Martina Viarengo, August 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0090

Whether to Hire Local Contract Teachers? Trade-off Between Skills and Preferences in India
Sonja Fagernäs, Panu Pelkonen, July 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0083

Tax Competition Among Local Governments: Evidence from a Property Tax Reform in Finland
Teemu Lyytikäinen, June 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0082 House Prices and Credit Constraints: Making Sense of the U.S. Experience
John V. Duca, John Muellbauer, Anthony Murphy, March 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0077

Shifting Credit Standards and the Boom and Bust in U.S. House Prices
John V. Duca, John Muellbauer, Anthony Murphy, March 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0076

Modelling and Forecasting with County Court Data: Regional Mortgage Possession Claims and Orders in England and Wales
Janine Aron, John Muellbauer, February 2011
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0070

Bank Location and Financial Liberalization Reforms: Evidence from Microgeographic Data
Marieke Huysentruyt, Eva Lefevere, Carlo Menon, October 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0058

Capitalization of Central Government Grants into Local House Prices: Panel Data Evidence from England
Christian A. L. Hilber, Teemu Lyytikäinen, Wouter Vermeulen, September 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0057

The Mortgage Interest Deduction and its Impact on Homeownership Decisions
Christian A. L. Hilber, Tracy M. Turner, September 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0055

Economic Geographers and the Limelight: The Reaction to the 2009 World Development Report
Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, April 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0048

The Fluctuating Record of Economic Regeneration in England's Second-Order City Regions, 1984-2007
Tony Champion, Alan Townsend, October 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0033


Politics in Coalition Formation of Local Governments
Tuukka Saarimaa, Janne Tukiainen, March 2012
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0102

In Search of the 'Economic Dividend' of Devolution: Spatial Disparities, Spatial Economic Policy and Decentralisation in the UK
Andy Pike, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, John Tomaney, Gianpiero Torrisi, Vassilis Tselios, October 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0062

Towards the Resilient Region?: Policy Activism and Peripheral Region Development
Stuart Dawley, Andy Pike, John Tomaney, September 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0053

Is Fiscal Decentralization Harmful for Economic Growth? Evidence from the OECD Countries
Roberto Ezcurra, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, May 2010
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0051

Does Decentralization Matter for Regional Disparities? A Cross-Country Analysis
Roberto Ezcurra, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, July 2009
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0025

The Government's Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration: Key Issues
Andy Pike, John Tomaney, September 2008
SERC Discussion Paper SERCDP0008

Policy papers

Assessing the Government's Proposals to Reform the UK Planning System
Max Nathan, Henry G. Overman, November 2011
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP011

What We Know (and Don't Know) About the Links between Planning and Economic Performance
Max Nathan, Henry G. Overman, November 2011
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP010

The Future of Rural Policy: Lessons from Spatial Economics (Policy Note)
Steve Gibbons, Henry G. Overman, October 2011
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP009

The Future of Rural Policy: Lessons from Spatial Economics
Steve Gibbons, Henry G. Overman, October 2011
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP008

Economic Growth in Cities: Issues for Central Government
Henry G. Overman, June 2011
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP007

Strategies for Underperforming Places
Paul Lawless, Henry G. Overman, Peter Tyler, February 2011
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP006

City-Region Governance, Policy Variation and Economic Performance
Paul Steeples, February 2010
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP005

Urban Containment, Housing Affordability and Price Stability - Irreconcilable Goals
Paul Cheshire, September 2009
SERC Policy  Paper No' SERCPP004

Local Authorities and the Downturn: A Review of Issues, Experience and Options
Ian Gordon, Tony Travers, Christine Whitehead, June 2009
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP003

Policies for 'Mixed Communities': A Critical Evaluation
Paul Cheshire, Steve Gibbons, Ian Gordon, June 2008
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP002

Resurgent Cities and Regional Economic Performance
Henry Overman, Patricia Rice, June 2008
SERC Policy Paper No' SERCPP001