This research has explained some of the differences in economic performance between the West of England (WoE) and its constituent parts (places and sectors) and national ‘control’ averages and other sub-regional areas.
Part of the explanation why the WoE is doing so well is its sector composition. However, the text book drivers of productivity (capital and labour employed) seem to explain only a very small amount of the remaining productivity differentials. This paper recommends extensions to the research to allow a fuller identification of the specific local factors that are contributing to and limiting the WoE productivity advantage.
Overall, we find significant results that the WoE performed:
better than the national average ‘control group’ (UK excluding London). Between 1998 and 2007 and in terms of average productivity, the WoE moved from being average to being 11.5% above average. Thereafter, from 2008-2011, thanks to the impact of recession and prolonged downturn, the local productivity premium slipped back to 7.2%.
better than the seven other ‘core’ cities, with a positive, though variable, productivity gap throughout the period under study.
better and improving faster than five comparable southern LEP areas. Smaller sample sizes mean these estimates are more volatile, but the noteworthy point is that the WoE trend was more consistently positive over this period and only the Thames Valley LEP area, (benefiting from greater influence from “Greater London”), shows a bigger productivity gap.