Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Local economic development

Local economic development is a central part of developmental local government. It is a process which brings together different partners in the local area to work together to harness resources for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Local economic development is increasingly being seen as a key function of local government and a means of ensuring that local and regional authorities can address the priority needs of local citizens in a sustainable way. There is no single model for LED; approaches reflect local needs and circumstances. Themes include local economic development guides, tourism, support to small, medium and micro enterprises, microfinance and credit and public-private partnership.

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Location of Repository The public value of urban local authority collaboration as economic development policy: the role of institutions

The thesis aims to understand: what constitutes urban collaboration and its relationship with policy outcomes? The research develops a conceptual understanding of the public value (PV) (Bardach, 1998; Moore, 1995, Smith, 2004) of Urban Local Authority Collaboration (ULAC) as economic development policy, relative to three theoretical domains in the literature: economic collaboration (i.e. new/old institutional economics: Ostrom 1990, 2016; Williamson, 2000); spatial collaboration (i.e. institutional economic geography: Ostrom, 2010; Gerber, 2015; Tarko and Aligica, 2012), and governance collaboration (i.e. collective action theory: Hulst and van Monfort, 2012; Feiock, 2008, 2013). Theoretically, the ‘institution’ (Amin, 2001; Jessop, 2001; Williamson, 2000; Aligica and Boettke, 2009; Gertler, 2010) is a distinct conceptual dimension connecting the theoretical literature, bridging scholarly boundaries across compatible ontological insights (Bathelt and Gluckler, 2003; and Hay, 2011). \ud A conceptual framework is developed to help understand: a) what ULAC looks like; b) how ULAC creates PV and, c) why institutions explain the PV of ULAC. A purposeful single case study of ULAC (i.e. the Scottish Cities Alliance (SCA): a formalised institutional policy network involving seven Urban Local Authorities (ULAs) and the Scottish Government) involved collecting data using semi-structured interviews, secondary data, policy documentation and non-participant observation. The emergence of the SCA as economic development policy in Scotland – conducive to an institutionally sensitive theoretical approach – presents a valuable opportunity to contribute towards an empirical and theoretical understanding of ULAC. Using template analysis, findings emerged through process-tracing, sense-making and thick narrative descriptions to reveal aggregate dimensions and second-order themes and first-order concepts. The thesis responds to calls for in-depth case study research of the way local government collaboration operates and performs (Hulst and Montfort, 2012), engaging with the ‘fuzzy’(Markhusen, 2003) concepts and processes of ‘urban collaboration’, ‘policy outcomes’ and ‘institutions’ to reveal a lack of empirical and conceptual understanding of how ULAC operates: particularly the role of ‘urban’ institutional context as a ‘key actor attribute’ (Hulst and van Monfort, 2012: 139). Using a critical realist ontology (Jessop, 2005), the research is best suited to Stake’s (2005) interpretive methodological approach to contextualised theorising, using the SCA in Scotland to investigate the ‘contextualised’ Institutional context, to help inductively conceptualise the PV of ULAC as economic development policy. Whilst conscious of the risks of methodological and conceptual ‘stretching’ (Stubbs, 2005: 71) , the research uses Scotland as a case study to conceptualise the more generic, abstract features of ULAC as a ‘theoretically vague’ term that may ‘travel’ (Stubbs, 2005: 71). The results validate a realist perspective of the theoretical role of formal and informal institutions shaping the contextual path dependant nature of the PV of ULAC. The methodological contribution of the thesis highlights how a new evolving model of economic and spatial governance in Scotland, presents potential challenges for the future delivery of urban policy and practice in Scotland, before closing with a discussion of research limitations and recommendations for areas of future academic research

Author: Linda Christie Publisher: University of Glasgow Publication year: 2018


Gender-Responsive Budgeting: The Case of a Rural Local Body in Kerala

This article discusses gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) at the local level in Kerala by studying a village panchayat, the lowest tier of rural local government. GRB of a rudimentary form, known as Women Component Plan (WCP), had been in existence at the local level for the last 20 years as a key feature of participatory planning. The study adopts a fourfold classification of all projects implemented in the panchayat on the basis of their gender friendliness and calculates allocation and expenditure under each of these categories. The data on which the article relies relate to the expenditure incurred under the annual plans rather than budgets, which are based on inflated and unreliable data. The article ends by making some observations based on the data and the overall experience of Kerala in gender budgeting.

Author: John S. Moolakkattu, John S. Moolakkattu Publisher: Sage open Publication year: 2018


Decentralisation, clientelism and social protection programmes: a study of India’s MGNREGA

Does decentralisation promote clientelism? If yes, through which mechanisms? We answer these questions through an analysis of India’s (and the world’s) largest workfare programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), in two Indian states: Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh (AP). The two states adopted radically different implementation models: Rajasthan’s decentralised one stands in contrast with Andhra Pradesh’s centralised and bureaucracy-led model. Using a mixed method approach, we find that in both states local implementers have incentives to distribute MGNREGA work in a clientelistic fashion. However, in Rajasthan, these incentives are stronger, because of the decentralised implementation model. Accordingly, our quantitative evidence shows that clientelism is more serious a problem in Rajasthan than in AP.

Author: Diego Maiorano, Upasak Das & Silvia Masiero Publisher: Oxford Development Studies Publication year: 2018


Local Government as Institutional Entrepreneur: Public–Private Collaborative Partnerships in Fostering Regional Entrepreneurship

Due to the intertwined nature of private and public interests, local governments tend to use collaborative partnerships involving entrepreneurs to promote regional entrepreneurship. However, there is still a gap in the theory with regard to the mechanisms underpinning these collaborative partnerships. Drawing on the institutional entrepreneurship literature, we identify the enabling conditions and articulate the role played by local government as an institutional entrepreneur in fostering regional entrepreneurship through entrepreneurial public–private collaborative partnerships. This paper explicates two distinct mechanisms – the establishment of new institutional arrangements by the institutional entrepreneur and the advocation of diffusion by other actors – that underpin entrepreneurial public–private collaborative partnerships. Importantly, we underscore the crucial role played by returnee entrepreneurs who interact collaboratively with the institutional entrepreneur in affecting institutional change and fostering regional entrepreneurship. We conduct in-depth qualitative interviews with local government officials, entrepreneurs and high-tech park managers, in conjunction with performing content analysis of policy documents in a peripheral region of China – areas that have largely been neglected in scholarly research. This paper concludes with some theoretical and policy implications for public management and entrepreneurship.

Author: Yijun Xing, Yipeng Liu, Cary Cooper Publisher: British Journal of Management Publication year: 2018


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