Organised for inward investment? Development agencies, local government, and firms in the inward investment process

Crispian Fuller, Robert J. Bennett, Mark Ramsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inward investment promotion and aftercare remain central aspects of local economic development for English Regional Development Agencies, Scottish and Welsh development bodies, and local authorities in Britain. In many cases, partnership and consultation mechanisms have become integral to attracting inward investment and providing aftercare. Inward investment is thus an important area in which to explore interinstitutional relations between agents operating along diverse spatial boundaries and with different responsibilities. In this paper we analyse the local and regional institutional structures and relations characterising the inward investment process in Britain using new survey data from local authorities, regional bodies, and inward investors. We find that promotional activities have clearly defined structures which are chiefly led by the regional level. Aftercare is characterised by more collaborative arrangements involving both regional bodies and local government. However, many bodies are little used, with competition and tension between partners remaining frequent within English regions, regardless of recent institutional changes designed to reduce such problems. In Scotland and Wales, however, their national institutions are not only widely used, but they create high levels of satisfaction from firms. Hence, England has yet to respond to the effective challenges of Scotland and Wales. The analysis also highlights the limited importance of all national, regional, and local public institutions in attracting inward investors and their subsequent aftercare. The critical inputs to business decisions appear to be driven chiefly by more general supply-side conditions (for example, general skills versus local public packages) and the general attractions of a particular location.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2025-2051
Number of pages27
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


  • development aid
  • foreign direct investment
  • institutional framework
  • investment
  • local government


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