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Does Light Touch Cluster Policy Work? Evaluating the Tech City Programme

Max Nathan ()

CEP Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

Abstract: Despite academic scepticism, cluster policies remain popular with policymakers. This paper evaluates the causal impact of a flagship UK technology cluster programme. I build a simple framework and identify effects using difference-in-differences and synthetic controls on rich microdata. I further test for timing, cross-space variation, scaling and churn channels. The policy grew and densified the cluster, but has had more mixed effects on tech firm productivity. I also find most policy 'effects' began before rollout, raising questions about the programme's added value.

Keywords: cities; clusters; technology; economic development; synthetic controls (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L53 L86 O31 R30 R50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-tid and nep-ure
Date: 2019-08
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