Sectoral and spatial impacts of the pandemic and subsequent recovery

This webinar will feature two presentations;

What data and past experience tells us about the potential sector-spatial impacts of the oncoming recession
Ben Gardiner and Richard Lewney (Cambridge Econometrics)

This presentation looks at the sectoral and spatial differences in resilience to the pandemic and considers the implications for growth and productivity outcomes in the recovery. We begin with a look at the most recent (Great) recession for which data are available, and examine the macroeconomic and sectoral impacts.  We then consider the similarities and differences between this recession and the one being caused by the effects of the ongoing pandemic. For example, how differences are likely to occur in consumption activity which involves physical proximity to others, spending on investment goods and consumer durables that is deferred when incomes are cut or uncertain, and spending on international travel and commuting to work. Given this macroeconomic and sectoral context, we then proceed to review differences in the UK’s spatial economies and how these macro-sector effects might play out across the country. Here there are two approaches to consider. The first (top-down) considers the spatial effects as smaller-scale versions of the country, which leads to impacts depending mostly on sectoral mix. The second (bottom-up) considers how different localities (regions, cities, etc) have performed differently to the nation over the various shocks and cycles that we can observe in the data. Using this information, together with the specific features of the COVID-19 economic shock and the way it is affecting different sectors and occupations, a more nuanced view on the likely spatial productivity effects can be established.

Behavioural Explanations of Spatial Disparities in Productivity
Robert Huggins (Cardiff University)

This presentation shows that behavioural factors encompassing culture and personality psychology potentially provide new insights into the persistence of the long-term spatial unevenness of productivity. From a policy perspective, it is argued that governments looking to ‘level up’ local and regional economies should pay greater attention to understanding behavioural influences on productivity. This is particularly so given that there is little doubt that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on many local and regional economies will be severe. The shrinking of investment pools in the future means that there is a greater need for smarter public policy decision-making, which must include local and regional investment decisions that are attuned to the behaviour of the people who live and work in these places. It is concluded that public sector investment decisions should be at least partly informed by the ‘Behavioural Profile’ of the local area or region in which a particular investment may be made.

What to expect

Grab a drink and a sandwich and join our one-hour webinar on 30th July 2020 at 12:00-13:00 to hear expert insights and stimulating discussion about Sectoral and spatial impacts of the pandemic and subsequent recovery The webinar will include an online discussion from our speakers before an interactive Q&A session.


Dr Ben Gardiner, Richard Lewney (Cambridge Econometrics)

Prof Rob Huggins, Cardiff University



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