Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis
Chapter 27: The Empirical Evidence of Industrial Districts in Great Britain
Lisa De Propris 1. Introduction This chapter will study the presence and nature of industrial districts (IDs) in Great Britain. In so doing, it will provide a comparative analysis with that contained in Chapters 25 and 26, whilst being also linked with the discussion in Chapter 4. After a brief survey of the recent contributions on the mapping of localised industries in the UK in Section 3, Section 4 presents the mapping methodology and describes what data is available in the UK. Section 5 analyses the main findings, and a discussion of how recent policymaking has related to the debate on localised industries is sketched in Section 6. Some concluding remarks are made in Section 7. 2. IDs in the British debate In the UK, the debate on ‘localised industries’ and forms of production clustering, including IDs, has been just as intense as in other European countries and the US over the 1990s and the early 2000s. However, it has been underpinned by very different premises and has produced a quite different contribution, as will be explored below. One could be forgiven for thinking that the current debate on districts is simply the last episode of a flourishing debate stemming from Marshall’s contribution in the Principles and in Industry and Trade. However, what became most popular out of Marshall’s thought, especially up until the 1970s, was related to the economic theories of the firm and markets; this should not be too surprising given that such theories provided a crucial underpinning...
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