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James Simmie

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The evolution of economic resilience in cities: reinvention versus replication

Entrepreneurship, Growth and Development in Uncertain Times

James Simmie

It is argued that urban economic resilience should be seen in terms of the capacity to maintain long-run economic growth pathways and the impacts of sudden and unforeseen shocks on those pathways. It is proposed that resilience is based on the long-run capacities of urban economies to re-invent themselves in the face of external shocks emanating from such phenomena as globalisation and technological change. This hypothesis is investigated by analysing employment change and the development of knowledge based private sector service industries and digital firms in English and Welsh cities from 1911. On the basis of this analysis, it is concluded that those cities with the highest levels of knowledge based employment in 1911 have emerged as the most resilient economies in terms of their long-term employment growth paths. Conversely, those urban economies with the highest levels of low knowledge intensity jobs in 1911 have tended to replicate those types of employment and consequently have suffered from low levels of resilience in the face of the local impacts of globalisation and technological shocks.