Productivity Perspectives
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Productivity Perspectives

Edited by Philip McCann and Tim Vorley

Productivity Perspectives offers a timely and stimulating social science view on the productivity debate, drawing on the work of the ESRC funded Productivity Insights Network. The book examines the drivers and inhibitors of UK productivity growth in the light of international evidence, and the resulting dramatic slowdown and flatlining of productivity growth in the UK. The reasons for this so-called productivity puzzle are not well understood, and this book advances explanations and insights on these issues from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives. It will be of value to all those interested in, and engaging with, the challenge of slowing productivity growth.
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Chapter 7: Productivity and the UK’s deficiency in scale-ups

Colin Mason


There is a consensus that scale-up companies have a positive impact on productivity. The UK is believed to have a deficiency in scale-ups which, in turn, is thought to contribute to its low productivity. The concentration of scale-ups in the South East and East of England and their under-representation in the North is also thought to contribute to regional variations in productivity. Discussion of the barriers to scale-up have focused on access to venture capital and the ability to recruit members of top management teams with scale-up experience. These are particular challenges outside of the South East. However, the debate has been based on an inappropriate definition of scale-ups. Moreover, many companies that have scale-up potential or have started to scale are acquired by larger companies and so drop out of the statistical base, exaggerating the UK’s scale-up deficiency. There is a lack of clear evidence on the effect of acquisition on the acquired companies.

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