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Determinants of community economic performance

Why do some communities become stuck in a long-term cycle of poor employment opportunities, transport, infrastructure, social and cultural amenities, and housing? The picture is much more complicated than one of a simple North South divide or a problem of isolated communities - poorer neighbourhoods nationwide often lie in close proximity to much better-off areas and labour markets.

Is there something particular about areas or communities which reinforces stagnation? Or is the problem one of "sorting", where better-skilled individuals leave to take up employment opportunities elsewhere? Can increased housing supply or improved transport help reduce differences between areas? Or is the large city agglomeration of firms and labour markets taking advantage of a high skills pool inevitable? Should efforts to rebalance the economy be judged on the extent to which they improve opportunities for all, rather than whether they narrow the gap between particular places?

The programme's labour market and urban economists, as well as researchers in our What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth have analysed these questions, the implications for regional and urban policy and the appropriate balance between policies targeting particular areas and those that aim to develop individuals' life chances through education and training.



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