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Local Economic Growth: What Works Centre

Principal Investigator (Imperial): Professor Jonathan Haskel

Researcher: Dr Ralf Martin

Funder: ESRC

Duration: September 2013 – September 2016

The What Works Centre aimed to significantly improve the use of evidence in the design and delivery of policies for local economic growth and employment leading to more effective policies and policymaking in these areas.

Led by LSE and in partnership with the Centre for Cities and Arup, the What Works Centre combined the world-class expertise of its partners to:

  • Identify key policy interventions where there is sufficient evidence to properly assess effectiveness; Undertake systematic reviews to rank these interventions and ensure that the findings are accessible to policy makers.
  • Develop effective knowledge exchange and capacity building using our evidence base and engagement tools to ensure that the evidence base increases the areas covered, and are used to improve policy-making.
  • Ensure that evidence is widely used in the development of policy, to ensure that new policies are effectively evaluated and that individuals and organisations have the capacity to feedback the findings into future policy development.

To achieve this, the Centre developed a transparent methodology to rank interventions and conduct a systematic assessment of the existing evidence base in order to develop an online toolkit allowing users to compare interventions. This was then used to develop best practice and guidance for public sector policy-makers. To secure longer-term goals, we worked with local and central government to improve data management, partner with selected local actors to develop demonstration projects and identify outstanding research gaps and funding opportunities.

Research partners

  • London School of Economics (lead)
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Bristol
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Oxford
  • Arup Group Ltd