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Department of Geography


Local and Regional Economic Development: The Role of Institutions

There are three streams of projects:

(i) Local and regional economic development in Britain

A series of ongoing projects on local and regional institutions. This has included assessing the various UK government regimes for local development agents: TECs and LECs, RDAs, LLSCs, local government and Business Links; and since 2010 the UK Coalition government’s local government reforms, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Enterprise Zones. This has received major project grants from the Leverhulme Trust.

(ii) Geography of public finance

Long-running projects on spatial patterns of ‘need’ for public expenditure for people and businesses, and how resource – need imbalances are overcome by intergovernmental grants and transfers. The Geography of Public Finance: Welfare under fixed federation and local government finance sparked a series of studies in geography and related disciplines. Detailed studies of local taxes on business have produced the benchmarks for local business tax incidence (Bennett and Krebs, G. Local Business Taxes in Britain and Germany).

(iii) Government Decentralisation

During the reform process in central Europe since 1990, public finance and territorial reforms to local/regional government became key elements. Through the IGU Commission on Public Policy (IGU CPP) a series of major studies were made which helped to stimulate increased decentralisation to the lower tiers of government, Edited by Bennett as chair of IGU CPP 1984-96: Local Government in the New Europe; Territory and Administration in Europe; Decentralisation, local government and markets; Local Government and Market decentralisation: Experiences in industrialised, developing and former Eastern Bloc Countries.


  • The United Kingdom, Chapter 6, pp. 47-64, in Marti-Henneberg, Jordi (ed.) European Regions, 1870 – 2020: A Geographic and Historical Insight into the Process of European Integration, Springer
  • Using the Relation Between Business Associations and SMEs as a Policy Tool: From History to LEPs, ISBE Conference paper, presented at Sheffield, November 2011. Winner of ISBE prize for Best Policy Paper 2011.
  • Ramsden, M. Bennett, R.J. and Fuller, C. (2007) Local economic development initiatives and the transition from Training and Enterprise Councils to new institutional structures in England, Policy Studies, 28 (3), 225-244.
  • Bennett, R. J., Fuller, C. and Ramsden, M., (2004) Local Government and local economic development in Britain: An evaluation of developments under Labour, Progress in Planning, 62 (4), 1-66.
  • Ramsden, M., Bennett, R.J., and Fuller, C. (2004) The Learning and Skills Council and the institutional infrastructure for post-16 education and training: An initial assessment, Journal of Education and Work, 17 (4), 397-420.
  • Fuller, C., Bennett, R.J. and Ramsden, M. (2004) Local Government and the changing institutional landscape of economic development in England and Wales, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 22, 317-347.
  • Ramsden, M., Bennett, R.J. and Fuller C. (2004) Short-term policy and the changing institutional landscape of post-16 education and training: the case of learning partnerships in England, Scotland and Wales, Journal of Education and Work, 17 (2), 139-165.
  • Bratton, W., Bennett, R.J. and P.J.A. Robson, (2003) Critical mass and economies of scale in the supply of services by business support organisations, Journal of Services Marketing, 17(7), 730-752.
  • Bennett, R.J., C. Fuller and M. Ramsden (2002) The economic development role of English RDAs: The need for greater discretionary power, Regional Studies, 36 (4), 421-428.
  • Bennett, R.J. and D.A. Payne (2000) Local and Regional Economic Development: renegotiating power under Labour (Ashgate, Aldershot).
  • Bennett, R.J. (ed.) (1994) Local Government and Market decentralisation: experiences in industrialised, developing and former eastern bloc countries, United Nations University Press, Tokyo. 506pp.
  • Bennett, R.J. and McCoshan, A. (1993) Enterprise and Human resource Development: Local Capacity Building, Paul Chapman, London, 336pp.
  • Bennett, R.J. (ed.) (1993) Local Government in the New Europe, Belhaven, London. 309pp.
  • Bennett, R.J. and Krebs, G. (1991) Local Economic Development: Public-private partnerships in Britain and Germany, Belhaven Press, London. 200pp.
  • Bennett, R. J. (ed.) (1990) Decentralisation, Local Government and Markets: Towards a Post-Welfare Agenda, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 412pp.
  • Bennett, R.J. (ed.) (1989) Territory and administration in Europe, Francis Pinter, London. 316pp.
  • Bennett, R. J. and Krebs, G. (1988) Local Business Taxes in Britain and Germany, Nomos, Baden-Baden, 344pp.
  • Bennett, R. J. (1985) Intergovernmental Financial Relations in Austria, ANU Press, Canberra, 90pp.
  • Bennett, R.J. (1980) The Geography of Public Finance: welfare under fiscal federalism and local government finance, Methuen, London. 498pp.