National Productivity Week 27th November 2023 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

Regional disparities, growth, and inclusiveness

We discuss regional disparities in economic performance and living standards. We first set out some key facts, and provide a conceptual framework to help analyse whether such disparities are efficient, or instead reflect market and/or policy failures.

We examine whether policy attempts to reduce regional disparities necessarily involve a trade-off between equity and efficiency. We then investigate whether policymakers should focus on boosting the economic performance of lagging regions—or, conversely, accept the presence of regional disparities, and instead assist households in lagging regions through transfer payments, investments in education, health, and other basic services, and by facilitating out-migration.

This paper was published as an International Monetary Found Working Paper No. 2021/038. Co-author Anthony J. Venables is is the Research Director of The Productivity Institute.

Authors Tony Venables, Holger Floerkemeier, Nikola Spatafora


  • Geography & Place




Holger Floerkemeier, Nikola Spatafora, Anthony J. Venables Regional Disparities, Growth, and Inclusiveness, International Monetary Fund, Working Paper No. 2021/038