Published on 4 December 2019
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To them that hath: economic complexity and local industrial strategy in the UK


Dr Penny Mealy and Professor Diane Coyle

Penny Mealy
Penny is a Research Associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. In collaboration with Diane Coyle, Penny’s work focuses on a project entitled ‘Practical Wisdom in a Complex World’. This project looks at new measures, models and mechanisms that could improve our ability to understand and shape our surrounding socio-economic system towards desirable outcomes. Penny is also a Research Associate at the Institute of New Economic Thinking and the School of Geography and Environment at Oxford University, and was a visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her PhD at Oxford University advanced quantitative approaches for studying knowledge and the productive capabilities that underpin prosperity. She applied these approaches to provide new insights into long-run development, division of labour and the future of work, and the transition to the green economy. Penny’s broader research interests include technological evolution, transformational change, network science and agent-based modelling.

Diane Coyle
Diane co-directs the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. She was previously Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester. She has held a number of public service roles including Vice Chair of the BBC Trust (2006-2014), member of the Competition Commission (2001-2009), the Migration Advisory Committee (2009-2014), and the Natural Capital Committee (2016-2019). She was awarded a CBE for her contribution to the public understanding of economics in the 2018 New Year Honours.


21 November 2019

About this Report

This is a working paper titled, ‘To them that hath: economic complexity and local industrial strategy in the UK’. Faced with rising regional inequality and stagnating growth, policymakers in advanced economies are increasingly looking for measures to boost productivity while addressing highly uneven economic development. In this paper Penny Mealy and Diane Coyle have extended economic complexity approaches to analyse data on UK local authorities and highlighted the unique ability of the ECI and PCI measures to provide novel insights into regional specialisation patterns. In contrast to previous work, which cast the ECI and PCI measures in terms of capturing the diversity and sophistication of production, here the authors demonstrate how the measures instead provide a useful approach for reducing the dimensionality of the data and provide a useful inclusion to the tool-kit for analysing place-based industrial specialisation.


Diane Coyle 2018

Professor Diane Coyle

Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Professor Coyle co-directs the Bennett Institute with Professor Kenny. She is heading research under the progress and productivity themes. Biography Professor Dame Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at...

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