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Heterodoxy and the governance of economic development

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andy Pike



An emergent heterodox approach is challenging the prevailing orthodoxy of thinking, doing, and governing economic development, particularly at the subnational, regional, and local levels. Looking at underlying debates concerning institutionalism and a 'new centrism, the author draws together the theoretical and conceptual threads of the heterodox agenda. Several critical issues are outlined: the historical evolution of economic development approaches; the lack of coherency and consensus in conceptual, theoretical, and policy terms; the underdeveloped empirical base and; the translation into policy and institutional practice. This discussion informs an analytical framework based upon the central dimensions of heterodoxy, experimentation, context specificity, and governance. Empirical analysis of the substance of the new heterodoxy is undertaken by focusing upon a new institutional experiment for organising economic development-the task force-and drawing upon evidence from the national (UK), regional (North East of England), and local (South Tyneside) levels. The argument is that there is a mixed picture with patchy evidence of the emergence of the heterodox agenda, comprising genuine experimentation and innovation, coexisting and interrelating with substantial continuities and the extension and reinforcement of established practices. It is concluded that the currently dominant narrative and technocratic mode of 'quasi-governance' of economic development requires a renewed and democratised politics to open up discussion of alternative responses to the fundamental questions of what kind of economic development is desired and for whom. Strengthened democratic structures as part of the devolution process in the UK nations and regions may offer the potential to begin this debate.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pike A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning A

Year: 2004

Volume: 36

Issue: 12

Pages: 2141-2161

Print publication date: 01/12/2004

ISSN (print): 0308-518X

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3409


DOI: 10.1068/a3681


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