The rise of the regional state in economic governance: 'partnerships for prosperity' or new scales of state power?

Martin Russell Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent debates on the regulation and governance of contemporary capitalism and its territorial form, there is an emerging consensus that successful economic development is contingent on a movement away from the nation-state and policy interventions at the national scale toward subnational institutional frameworks and supports. In effect, both an 'institutional turn' and a 'scalar turn' appear to be occurring, through which the heterogeneity of economic growth may be explored. The author scrutinises these claims by examining what is becoming known as 'new regionalist' orthodoxy in economic development. This orthodoxy is particularly powerful because its concerns for resolving economic and democratic deficit by harnessing the regional scale are supported by academics, politicians, and policymakers alike. Focusing on England's Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), a radical initiative in regional economic governance, the author argues for a need to rethink the nation-state and the processes through which its intervention is being scaled. RDAs have been given a remit to enhance economic and social development, but rather than their providing decentralised 'partnerships for prosperity', a number of contradictions and tensions are revealed. These indicate that England's own brand of new regionalism is heavily steered by political fiat and central government dictate. To inform new regionalist debates, the author consequently argues that a new (regional) scale of state power is emerging and RDAs are forming part of a political strategy aimed at rescaling, instead of resolving, an economic and democratic deficit. The author concludes by calling for a closer engagement in political - economic geography between state theory, crisis theory, and the scaling of state power and suggests a need to formulate a fourth-cut theory of crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1211
Number of pages27
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Volume33
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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