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Title: Towards strategic evaluation of regional spatial policies : a case study of North West England
Author: Rae, Alasdair.
ISNI:       0000 0000 5812 607X
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2007
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Over the last forty years, but particularly in the past two decades, the regions of England have been subject to a wide variety of policy interventions, targeted on specific places. These locations are typically deprived inner-cities or other economically lagging areas, of which there a disproportionately large number in England's North West. Given the current vogue for evidence-based policy and the mantra of 'value for money' that now suffuses central government, there is a strong imperative to determine the extent to which such policies actually work. Whereas most spatial policy evaluations are predisposed to answering the question of what has happened, and when, this research seeks to answer the fundamentally spatial question of where impacts have occurred, regardless of the intended target area. At present, the methods available to determine the extent to which particular policy instruments have spatial effects are limited. This represents something of a strategic oversight for national and regional government, since any spatial effects generated by targeted policy could, in theory, have negative impacts for a wider region, thereby nullifying any local success. Such a result could work against the government's stated desire to reduce the persistent gap in growth rates between regions, it is argued. This 'gap in the market' of spatial policy is unfortunate, but it is also opportune since it provides the substantive justification for this thesis and for further work in the field. The aim of the research is to develop methods to test for the spatial effects of area based policy in England's North West - though such methods could, of course, be applied in other regions. This is achieved in several stages. First, a conceptual framework for understanding spatial effects is forwarded, followed by an examination of the rationale and objectives for area based intervention. In this part, particular attention is paid to the Single Regeneration Budget. Second, the methodological framework is proposed so that the North West can be used as a test case in order to determine the nature and extent of spatial processes resulting from targeted policy. Third, the methods previously identified are applied and tested with reference to the urban core of the North West. A combination of strategic economic indicators, regional analysis techniques and dynamic data analysis is used here. Finally, conclusions are drawn as to the validity of the methods and the extent of any spatial effects that result from area based policy intervention. By going beyond the boundaries of traditional area based policy evaluation methods, this research shows that spatial effects are identifiable in the North West and that they are often unfavourable for the very locations targeted by policy in the first place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available