Cities and Regions in Crisis
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Cities and Regions in Crisis

The Political Economy of Sub-National Economic Development

Martin Jones

This book offers a new geographical political economy approach to our understanding of regional and local economic development in Western Europe over the last twenty years. It suggests that governance failure is occurring at a variety of spatial scales and an ‘impedimenta state’ is emerging. This is derived from the state responding to state intervention and economic development that has become irrational, ambivalent and disoriented. The book blends theoretical approaches to crisis and contradiction theory with empirical examples from cities and regions.
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Chapter 5: Regional Development Agencies

Martin Jones


This chapter discusses the emergence of the new regionalism in Britain. Regional Development Agencies were formally established in the English regions in 1999, owe their origins in large part to the impact of the ‘new regionalism’ both in academic discourse and in the transfer of institutional design and policy lessons from successful economies elsewhere. This chapter illustrates the growing policy commitment to the new regionalism in the United Kingdom as British policy-makers have moved from observing with interest developments in successful European regions to attempts to implement their alleged lessons at home. The chapter discusses how RDAs have encountered pressing contradictions. Instead of rationalising the landscape of economic governance, they add a new layer of complexity to an already confused institutional arena. But these weaknesses cannot be attributed to the RDAs alone—they stem from key design faults in the overall structure of this experiment in regional economic governance.

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