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Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

The Spatial Productivity Lab at the OECD Trento Centre

 

An explicit focus on subnational drivers of regional productivity is needed to better understand recent productivity dynamics (e.g. growing disparities within countries) and to devise policy solutions that boost aggregate productivity and reduce inequalities


  • What's the issue?

Productivity is the main determinant of living standards. Economies that are more productive generate greater ability to support and enhance wellbeing of their citizens via higher incomes, better infrastructure, more services and improved sustainability of welfare systems. In the last decade, the OECD countries have been confronted with decreasing productivity growth, declining business dynamism and job reallocation rates, and increasing regional productivity disparities. Large cities tend to prosper, while smaller places often feel left behind. Yet, all places have growth potential.

A focus on productivity of places or spatial productivity allows to understand and put to work local and regional engines of growth. This will expand economic opportunities in all places while decreasing inequalities. Knowledge of subnational productivity drivers in different types of places is crucial for building back better and making the post-COVID world more prosperous, resilient and inclusive.
 

  • What can the OECD offer?
  • To research organisations: Collaboration opportunities to conduct policy-relevant research on drivers of spatial productivity.
  • To governments: Analysis of economic trends and their effects on productivity performance of regions; policy advice on the ways to boost growth and wellbeing.
  • To civil society: Participation on the international dialogue on subnational productivity, growth, spatial inequality and other issues of utmost importance.

 

Spatial Productivity Lab papers

The spatial dimension of productivity in Italian co-operatives
March 2021

This report explores the spatial dimension of productivity in the co-operatives of Italy, a country where they make up a relatively large share of total national employment. Co-operatives play a countercyclical role in job creation during crises. In a post-pandemic world, they could make a major contribution to steering the economy towards inclusiveness and sustainability. Productivity growth ensures that co-operatives can achieve both economic and social goals in the future. This report applies a place-based approach to investigate the issue of productivity in co-operatives, given their many interdependencies with local communities. Available also in Italian

Policy Highlights  

 

A comprehensive approach to understanding urban productivity effects of local governments
Local autonomy, government quality and fragmentation
January 2021

This paper advances our understanding of the spatial dimension of productivity by investigating the link between subnational governance arrangements and urban labour productivity. It presents a detailed study of the direct and indirect effects of decentralisation (local autonomy), government quality and fragmentation and empirically demonstrates the need for a comprehensive approach when considering the effects of governance-related characteristics on regional economic outcomes. 

 

Labour demand weakening during the COVID-19 pandemic in US cities
Stylised facts and factors related to regional resilience
October 2020

This paper explores patterns of short-term labour demand weakening in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of the United States and the associated regional factors. The paper considers online job vacancy postings in February-June 2020. The data show that in larger MSAs, online job postings contracted more and the recovery was slower compared to smaller MSAs. Non-tradable service occupations, particularly those involving face-to-face interactions, contracted the most. The regression analysis reveals that different metropolitan characteristics were associated with the initial drop (February-April) and the recovery (May-June) in online job posting.

The geography of Swedish SMEs’ investments
Financial constraints across the urban-rural hierarchy in a wealthy country with low regional disparities
October 2020

This paper advances our knowledge of the spatial determinants of productivity by empirically demonstrating one such mechanism – clear differences along the urban-rural continuum in the sensitivity of SMEs’ investments to own cash flow. Whereas the literature has established uneven availability of credit across space, the evidence on whether this translates into differences in actual business investments remains scarce. We answer this question in the context of Sweden – a highly digitalised country with low regional inequalities.

 

Local ability to rewire and socioeconomic performance
Evidence from US counties before and after the Great Recession
May 2020

The paper examines the effects of three groups of factors (county economic structure, social/demographic attributes and geography) on employment growth and poverty change in US counties before and after the Great Recession. It finds that the industrial structure that facilitates inter-industry employee flows (“rewiring”) is of increasing importance post-Recession. In particular, this measure is associated with employment growth in under-performing counties suggesting that removing barriers to the flow of resources within lagging economies and increasing their adaptability potential might be a viable policy option. 

  The spatial dimension of productivity
Connecting the dots across industries, firms and places
January 2020

This working paper offers a synthesis of the current knowledge on the determinants of productivity. It carefully reviews both “spatial” (e.g. agglomerations, infrastructure, geography) and “aspatial” (e.g. human capital, labour regulations, industry-level innovation and dynamism) productivity drivers and demonstrates how the underlying spatial dynamics behind the latter group makes all productivity determinants “spatial” in nature. The paper demonstrates that productivity is inherently a spatial phenomenon and its understanding without a local/regional dimension is incomplete.

 

Events

13th SPL meeting: Adoption of advanced technologies - Productivity and labour market implications
11 May 2021 | DIGITAL

Productivity policies for places - OECD/EC Project and workshop series
March-June 2021 | DIGITAL

CALL FOR PAPERS: Relaunch of productivity for regional growth and cohesion 
Deadline for submission 15 April 2021

Workshop: Urban productivity, local government and the levelling up agenda
29 March 2021 | DIGITAL

12th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity in the post-COVID-19 world
4 February 2021 | DIGITAL

11th SPL meeting: Recent socioeconomic trends in Trentino and Alto-Adige/South Tyrol (Italy)
10 December 2020 | DIGITAL 

10th SPL meeting: Business incentives and firm entry - The past, the present and the future
29 October 2020 | DIGITAL 

9th SPL meeting: The new reality of teleworking - People, firms, places
3 September 2020 | DIGITAL 

8th SPL meeting: The world changed by COVID-19 - Policy, economy, society
7 May 2020 | DIGITAL 

7th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
20 February 2020 | Trento, Italy

5th GeoInno Conference: OECD Spatial Productivity Lab Policy Sessions
30 January 2020 | Stavenger, Norway

6th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
11 December 2019 | Trento, Italy

5th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
10 October 2019 | Venice, Italy

59th ERSA Congress: OECD Spatial Productivity Lab Special Sessions
27-30 August 2019 | Lyon, France

4th SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
17 April 2019 | Trento, Italy

Workshop: Spatial dimensions of productivity
28-29 March 2019 | Bolzano, Italy

3rd SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
7 February 2019 | Trento, Italy

OECD ERSA Winter School: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
21-25 January 2019 | Trento, Italy

2nd SPL meeting: Spatial productivity for regional and local development
4 December 2018 | Trento, Italy

Workshop: Regional productivity catching up - The role of the EU cohesion policies and the OECD perspective 
3 June 2018 | Trento, Italy

Workshop: The determinants of job polarisation - Lessons from the Dutch local labour markets
2 June 2018 | Trento, Italy

Policy panel: Technology & Jobs, a perspective across levels of government
2 June 2018 | Trento, Italy

Key note lecture: Impact of new technologies on jobs and its effect on local economies
2 June 2018 | Trento, Italy

Workshop: Technology and work - The rise of Cultural and Creative Industries
1 June 2018 | Trento, Italy

1st SPL meeting: The contribution of regions to the productivity of nations
21 February 2018 | Trento, Italy

 

Background readings

OECD 

OECD Regional Outlook 2019: Leveraging Megatrends for cities and rural areas
March 2019

Productivity and jobs in a globalised world - (How) Can all regions benefit?
April 2018

Better use of skills in the workplace -  Why it matters for productivity and local jobs
November 2017

What makes cities more productive? Evidence on the role of urban governance from five OECD Countries
February 2017

Does it pay to live in big(ger) cities? The role of agglomeration benefits, local amenities, and costs of living
December 2016

OECD Regional Outlook 2016: Productive regions for inclusive societies
October 2016

OECD Global Forum on Productivity library
November 2015 - Ongoing 

 

NETWORK

Local development, urban economies and aggregate growth in Italy (Italian version here)
April 2019

Ageing workforce and productivity: The unintended effects of retirement regulation in Italy 
October 2017

Management practices, environmental conditions and productive efficiency in the service industry. An empirical study of the hotel industry in Trentino (Italian only)
January 2011

New studies on growth and productivity in Trentino (Italian only)
March 2010

Economic growth and productivity: Measurements and applications - The case of the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italian only)
September 2008

 

The Network

This activity is implemented in co-operation with national institutions in Italy and in interested OECD countries; as well as with regional authorities of Trentino Alto Adige Sudtirol, other regions in Italy and other OECD countries. The research team includes economists and related researchers detached from OECD and other relevant research centres, universities in Italy and internationally.

The OECD SPL Team 


Contact

Interested in partnering with the Spatial Productivity Lab at the OECD Trento Centre? Contact Alexandra.Tsvetkova@oecd.org.  

 

 

SPL Partners

‌ School of International Studies - Trento University Ispat ‌ ‌‌ 

Eurac‌ 
Brescia University‌ 
Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum Sheffield University Management School  Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy - Ohio State University 
Euricse Productivity Partnership‌ 
CEPII Orkestra Gran Sasso Science Institute‌