Institutional change on the Anglo-Scottish border: cross-border collaboration in economic development

Mulvey, Gail and Peck, Frank (2015) Institutional change on the Anglo-Scottish border: cross-border collaboration in economic development. In: Regional Studies Association International Conference 2015: Global Growth Agendas: Regions Institutions and Sustainability, 24-27 May 2015, Piacenza, Italy. (Unpublished)

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The referendum on Scottish Independence in 2014 generated heated debate about a wide range of issues surrounding the relationship between England and Scotland at a variety of spatial scales. Though less prominent now in the media, the implications of the referendum still reverberate in the United Kingdom not least in terms of the unpredictability that now permeates national politics. Uncertainty is also a feature of regional change affecting relations between territories within the North of England and also interaction with neighbouring territories in the south of Scotland. In this regard, recent experience in economic development in the north of England and on the Anglo-Scottish border provides an illustration of the effects of symmetries and asymmetries that tend to characterise border regions and the factors that might enable or inhibit crossboundary collaboration in policy making and delivery of economic development. Though the Anglo-Scottish border remains a sub-national regional boundary in the UK context, it is nonetheless the case that the border is increasingly characterised by contrast in institutional settings and policy frameworks.

Previous research on border regions in Europe has shown that the intensity and effectiveness of cross-border collaboration varies considerably and tends to be enabled by cross-border institutional linkages in research, education and technology transfer as well as complementarities in industrial structures and knowledge-bases which reduce the cognitive distance between policy actors either side of borders. On the other hand, it has also been shown that barriers are often created by low institutional capacity on borders, low levels of complementarity between territories, asymmetric institutional structures and the dominance of centralist political systems which reduce local autonomy in border regions. In the context of economic development, attention has been given to the ways in which national and regional boundaries vary in their porosity with regard to delivery of policy. An increasing emphasis has been placed on less tangible interactions including processes of innovation, regional and local public policymaking and the significance of knowledge-flows and learning across boundaries. This has given substance to the concept of cross-border regional innovation systems (RIS). The Anglo-Scottish border has witness intensified levels of differentiation arising from increased levels of autonomy in policymaking in Scotland. Simultaneously, there has been a radical reorganisation of structures for economic development at the sub-national scale within the North of England. These changes, involving the demise of regional development agencies (RDAs) and creation of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) mainly at a sub-regional scale, have created new asymmetries between former regions in England. In the context of English territories adjoining Scotland, there are now significant differences in scale and capacity contrasting Cumbria LEP in the north-west with the North-East LEP which covers a much larger population and a more diverse and urbanised territory. The paper compares and contrasts the economies of Cumbria and Northumberland with the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway in Southern Scotland and considers the implication of institutional changes for collaboration in economic development.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Centre for Regional Economic Development (CRED)
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 10 May 2016 13:31
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2022 09:16


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