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Abstract:

cover
SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
Great Britain's Second-Order City Regions in Recessions, 1978-2010
Tony Champion and Alan Townsend
April 2012
Paper No' SERCDP0104:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J21; O18; R11; R12


Tags: recession; resilience; employment change; second-order city; city region; great britain

While it is now accepted that the 2008-09 recession accentuated regional differences in Britain, it is more difficult to identify the role of major cities, especially over a longer time scale. Using previously established methods focussed on employment, this paper assesses the record of nine city regions in the 2008-09 recession, both in its own right and in comparison with the previous two recessions. The 2008-09 recession is found to have impacted the nine city regions less than the previous ones in absolute terms but not in relative terms compared with the London city region or the rest of Britain. Over the whole period from 1978, the paper has found the city regions to be fairly tightly in the grip of national cyclical trends of recession and recovery, but generally performing less resiliently than Britain as a whole. In comparison, London showed appreciably more cyclical behaviour between 1989 and 2002 than at other times, with the most remarkable recovery from recession in this period. The public sector helped the performance of second-order city regions from 1997 to 2010, including the peak of growth rates in city regions and their cores in 1998-2002, but its employment reductions will dominate the prospects for provincial cities for several years to come.