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DD Papers
Economic Governance: International Experiences
A new direction for Northern Ireland


Robin Wilson
director, Democratic Dialogue




1. Governance structures and processes key to economic success

2. How business and other social partners engage in decision-making

3. The role of public-private partnerships

4. Mechanisms for ensuring social cohesion

5. How internal policy co-ordination is best achieved

6. How top-down and bottom-up approaches can be linked

7. How regional needs can be reflected in 'national' policy-making


General recommendations

An RDA for Northern Ireland?



It is no accident that 'governance' is a term now only beginning to enter Northern Ireland's public lexicon. For governance is really a notion to convey what government is for and how it is best carried out. In other words, it implies a close association between the political domain and, first, the economic domain for which it is meant to deliver the 'what', and, secondly, the social domain via which it is meant to achieve the 'how'.

The trouble is that government in Northern Ireland has for long been disconnected from these other domains. Politics has had its own—unfortunately repetitive and antagonistic—internal logic, premised on the assumption that economic policy (and a very substantial subvention) will be delivered from Westminster and that the involvement of other social actors is an optional (and not necessarily desirable) extra.

This is not a healthy situation, and would be likely to lead to major tensions—even crises—if a political settlement as conventionally conceived was to be agreed between the parties. An obvious risk is that business, and other social actors, would feel disillusioned by the performance of politicians unused to the exercise of economic policy, frustrated by structures designed on the basis of purely political considerations, and excluded by a lack of involvement in the public policy process.

Moreover, while new governance structures for Northern Ireland have been ironically described as 'Sunningdale for slow learners', the rapidity of change in the wider world in the past quarter century does not allow Northern Ireland to rest on old laurels. Whatever institutions are established in the region must enable it to improve its economic and social performance very substantially, and sustainably, if it is to have a future as other than a mendicant upon the British state.

In that light, this paper both raises and widens the horizons of debate. It uses the notion of governance to think afresh about Northern Ireland's congeries of economic and social concerns, and how to address them politically, drawing on a gamut of experience of regions and nations outside the UK.

Questions of governance, particularly of regional governance, have come very much to the fore in recent years as old methods of economic regulation have become inadequate. Globalisation of the financial markets has limited the scope for Keynesian demand management by national governments. Industrial policy can no longer 'pick winners' from a small and stable group of large dominating firms. Portfolio workers no longer fit into neat industrial labour forces corralled into big union battalions.

How to respond? "Many countries have been aided in coping with these problems of changing mechanisms of economic regulation by having effective regional governments that have the local knowledge to aid industry, and also well-structured industrial districts that can provide collective services to industry through public-private co-operation. They have also benefited from extended dialogue between the organised interests at local level and thus the possibility of wider co-operation that can survive the demise of highly centralised corporatist bargaining."

The next three sections of this paper address these three concerns—about effective regional government, dialogue between organised interests, and public-private co-operation. This is followed by a discussion of social cohesion. The final three parts look at policy co-ordination, linking top-down and bottom-up approaches, and how regional needs can be reflected at 'national' level. It then concludes with a strategic focus for the development of Northern Ireland plc as a 'global region', a series of recommendations to translate that into reality, and a particular proposal in terms of a regional development agency.

One word recurs throughout this paper: networks. This needs some prior explanation. Traditionally, economic governance has been thought of as taking place through markets or hierarchies, but a third form—networks—has come increasingly to the fore.

"Where transactions involve activities that are complex, uncertain and iterative—technology-related transactions being the best examples—markets are a poor conduit for the diffusion of information and knowledge, and especially of tacit knowledge. However, the hierarchical firm of the 'Fordist' era is also a less than ideal solution in a context of profound technological change and market uncertainty. Hence, proponents of the network form of governance argue that, for certain activities, network structures can overcome market imperfections on the one hand and the rigidities of the vertically-integrated hierarchy on the other."

It should be stressed that networks are not a bewildering array of red tape. On the contrary, they represent a flexible and accessible alternative to bureaucratic hierarchies on the one hand while, on the other, offering a can-do alternative to resigned acceptance of the vagaries of the market.

1. Governance structures and processes key to economic success

The challenge Northern Ireland faces in economic terms is clear enough: it comes bottom on the scale of regional gross domestic product per capita in the UK, which itself ranks 10th out of 15 EU members in GDP per head (ahead of Finland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal and Greece).

The European Commission has identified some factors lying behind the regional disparities in the EU: education and training of the labour force; research and technology development (RTD); labour force participation; investment, especially in transport, energy and telecommunications; foreign direct investment; and productivity/labour costs.

RTD is perhaps worth singling out because it is crucial to the transformations required of a lagging region like Northern Ireland. The concept links the end of innovation to the means of research and development, thus embracing technical capacity overall. Analysis of regions in Norway and Sweden has demonstrated a clear link between RTD and GDP per capita.

"RTD describes a web of activities related to the generation, acquisition, transfer and use of technology, It includes research, development, demonstration, technology transfer and technical innovation. It covers the spectrum of knowledge generation as well as application. RTD-intensive industries are innovative, produce several new products and have higher levels of productivity, expand their employment base more rapidly and are ultimately more competitive than traditional and low technology businesses ... The economic performance of a region indicates, therefore, whether its enterprises are technologically innovative and dynamic, or technologically backward and in decline."

Research for the Industrial Research and Technology Unit has shown that in 1993 total civil expenditure on R&D by Northern Ireland businesses amounted to just 0.4 per cent of regional gross domestic product. Only Greece and Portugal, among EU members, spend less. This need not, however, be a basis for fatalism: "The most crucial factor is how well a region can adapt to the new situation and how competitive it is under changing—and perhaps even turbulent—circumstances. In this sense, every region is more and more the architect of its own fortune."

A useful starting point is David Marquand's argument that the UK's economic decline, relative to its competitors—including now surpassed by the 'Celtic Tiger'—fundamentally arose because "Britain had always lacked a 'developmental state' capable of constructing and guiding a social coalition in favour of economic change and of harnessing market forces to a long-term national interest". Interestingly, Marquand believes that "the symbiosis of public and private power which is the essence of the developmental state can now be achieved more effectively on the regional or local level than on the national one".

Paul Hirst agrees: "If public bodies are now able to intervene effectively in the economy it is in their political capacity, by promoting co-operation between economic actors and by adopting policies that enable firms to create the microeconomic conditions for competitive success. Increasingly the public bodies able to perform these tasks are not conventional national states but regional governments ... The sites of governance are shifting towards the supranational and the regional levels: to trade blocs like the European Community and to regional governments like the German Länder ..."

Dunford and Hudson's research for the Northern Ireland Economic Council shows that decentralisation of governance to regions is not in itself enough to guarantee economic success. They point to Saarland in this regard. In particular, they stress the need to place a premium on "trust, co-operation and social inclusion"—on which more below.

Nevertheless, as they concluded from their study of Abruzzo (Italy), Jutland (Denmark), Rhône-Alpes (France) and Saarland (Germany), "the most active regional governments are to be found in the most economically successful regions, and the fact that they can exercise this degree of pro-activity is predicated upon their location within national states characterised by decentralised systems of governance. These involve dense and overlapping networks of institutions, within both the state and civil society, and bridging the boundaries between these two spheres."

All this throws a new light on an old argument about governance structures appropriate for Northern Ireland. For some time the relative merits or otherwise of administrative or legislative devolution have been debated. Structures which would give an assembly only administrative and not legislative competencies should clearly be ruled out as excessively cautious for a 'developmental' region.

The government's plans for regional development agencies in England are thus not directly transferable. The RDAs in England are envisaged in a context in which there may not be regional assemblies and where no previous such agencies existed. The opposite applies in Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, the idea of RDAs has a much broader international currency, as is discussed in the final section.

UK regional industrial policy has traditionally been governed by a conception of the economy which assumed that the unit was the firm (as recipient of selective assistance), that the only relationships between firms were of a competitive kind and that the social relationships in which firms were embedded could be ignored. Within Northern Ireland, this has been reflected in the operation of the Department of Economic Development 'family' of agencies, which have seen their role primarily as offering assistance to individual companies, even if that has been increasingly geared to levering a 'competitive' response.

In this traditional view, a region is just a container for centrally determined programmes, whereas, elsewhere in the EU it is largely seen as an entity in itself. Most EU member states have become devolved, regionalised or federal during the post-war period, and many EU regulations—notably the single programming documents for structural funds allocation—assume an effective regional body charged with achieving defined objectives for social and economic development.

"The effects of this contrast in perspectives between the EU and the UK on issues of regional governance cannot be over-emphasised. For the regions as containers proposition what is deemed to be needed is administration—systems to lay down, spend and account for resources from approved programmes, both national and European. For the region as level of governance what is needed is an effective local partnership to determine the nature of the problem and to draw up, within the rules, an effective and coherent programme (plan) to deal with it."

2. How business and other social partners engage in decision-making

In Marquand's view, "Local developmentalism squares quite well, may indeed require, a public philosophy of dialogue, power-sharing and negotiation."

Emilia-Romagna provides an interesting model for Northern Ireland in this regard. One of 15 new regions established in Italy in 1970 (in addition to five prior special regions), it represents a dramatic economic success story—outperforming even the other successful northern Italian regions since the late 80s: its nominal GDP in 1990 was almost four times what it was in 1977. So it offers interesting insights into how to construct effective regional governance, starting from scratch.

An ironic comparison with Northern Ireland is the built-in majority for one political party in Emilia-Romagna, but of a rather different hue—the former Communists, now the Party of the Democratic Left. And the reaction to that potential power monopoly has also been rather different, as a study of the first 20 years of the regional government concluded: "What sets Emilia-Romagna apart from other regions in Italy is the open nature of the majority party to the involvement of opposition leaders, other levels of government and interest-group leaders in the decision-making process."

In the 70s the then new region, under the banner 'a new way to govern', engaged in consultations with interest groups and local governments. "The expected outcome of this strategy was the creation of a regional identity and sense of common purpose. As expressed by the new president (Lanfranco Turci) in 1978, the goal of the consultation was the grassrooting of the regional institution in the respective historical, cultural, economic and social realities of the region."

One of the strengths of all the northern Italian regions is their level of associational life: 96 per cent of councillors surveyed in the region said they were quite satisfied. And no surprise. The 'Emilian model' is focused on small, even micro-, firms and half of Emilia's 140,000 businesses are members of the National Confederation of Artisans (an incredible 96 per cent of workers, meanwhile, are trade union members). Trade and business associations are the cornerstone of the 'regional productivity coalition' which has supported such prodigious growth. This is not just a supporting role: the associations play a crucial role in management of the business service centres which have been at the heart of the Emilian approach (see below).

According to Garmise, "the real lesson of the Emilian model for other regions in Europe can be summed up in two words: progressive government. Implementing informed social and economic policy and working through a productivity coalition with the key social and economic players, Emilia-Romagna [has] been able to effectively juggle the competing demands for a prosperous economy, social justice and legitimate political interventionism".

But social partnership may be even more important for getting out of crises than sustaining success.

Baden-Württemberg, another regional successful story, has nevertheless had to face critical challenges in the 1990s (see below). When the Social Democrats joined the formerly ruling Christian Democrats in coalition in 1992, the new administration announced it would pursue a new 'dialogue-oriented economic policy', designed to involve all the main economic actors in the process of industrial restructuring: "in other words the process (collaboration) is a vital prerequisite of the product (competitive renewal)."

In addition to a high-level taskforce of experts, Future Commission 2000, the government devised a series of 'common initiatives' for specific sectors. The aim was to bring together the key players in each—leading firms, industry associations, chambers of commerce and trade unions, along with research institutes—to design an agreed sectoral strategy.

The Social Democrat leader in Denmark recognised similar challenges, of intensified global competition amidst economic integration, in the late 80s. In 1988 Poul Rasmussen, then opposition leader, initiated a Strategic Forum, bringing together 100 key decision-makers from the private sector, trade unions, public sector and parties, to formulate a new industrial strategy. The strength of the forum, which met for four years, was that it allowed "a new élite group of influential and energetic individuals from a diversity of institutions to meet regularly and think strategically beyond their immediate interest affiliations."

Closer to home, at a (small) 'national' level, it was out of crisis that the Republic of Ireland established in the late 80s the social partnership arrangements that are seen as so central to the 'Celtic Tiger' of today. It is worth recalling that in 1987 unemployment in the republic was almost 18 per cent, the debt/GNP ratio nearly 130 per cent—effectively, national insolvency loomed. By 1997, unemployment had fallen to below 10 per cent, GDP growth was 10 per cent or above and there was a fiscal surplus.

What happened is clear: "In a context of deep despair in Irish society, the social partners—acting in the tripartite National Economic and Social Council—hammered out an agreed strategy to escape from the vicious circle of real stagnation, rising taxes and exploding debt." The result was a decade of 'negotiated economic and social governance' which has marked a transformation of economy and society in the republic.

The partnership arrangements, intact since 1987, have operated through a succession of three-year deals between the employers, unions and farmers (and now voluntary sector). The fundamental premise is to provide reciprocity for wage restraint by workers through channelling the benefits into wider social purposes, rather than these being captured by private capital.

The substance of these deals has embraced not only graduated, moderate wage increases but also tax reform, evolution of welfare payments, trends in health spending, commitments to social equality, measures against long-term unemployment and so on. Lower interest rates, lower inflation and improving competitiveness as a result have fostered vertiginous economic growth.

Northern Ireland's economic performance in the 90s has clearly been creditable by comparison to other UK regions/nations. But the performance of the UK as a whole has been very poor compared to that of the republic. Here O'Donnell and O'Reardon have contrasted those European countries, like the republic, Denmark and the Netherlands, in which "the political economy of inflation, incomes and public finance is resolved"; those, like France, where these issues are unresolved; and those, like the UK, "in which a resolution is achieved by limiting economic growth to 2 or 2.5 per cent".

This provides a useful index of the performance cost which Northern Ireland pays as a result of the eschewal (including by the new Labour government) of co-operative arrangements too glibly dismissed as 'corporatist'. Particularly on a regional level, there is a very strong case in favour, since the concerns raised by Hirst about 'centralism' do not apply. (In fairness, the government white paper on RDAs argues in favour of a partnership approach in the regions.)

The Northern Ireland Economic Council, as with the NESC in the republic, could be the vehicle for setting such arrangements in train in Northern Ireland, in the context of a regional government.

3. Public-private partnerships

Key to understanding what partnership is about is a recognition that firms do not only compete in the real world; they must also collaborate. In Japan they call it kyoryoku shi nagara kyosa (co-operating while competing): economic relationships are based on trust, reputation and continuity.

For this to happen, public support and sponsorship is crucial, at the hub of the networks created to address and resolve problems. But this may be far more effective expenditure—and certainly less subject to deadweight or displacement problems—than grants to individual firms in isolation.

In the US, manufacturing extension programmes emerged in a number of states, New York for example, from the mid-80s. But these were premised on "discrete, one-on-one firm-based projects". Japan, by contrast, gives special attention to inter-firm organisation in the modernisation of industry. Thus, for example, to meet the challenge of growing imports of computers in the late 50s, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) encouraged firms to establish the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association. In 1957-61, meanwhile, less than $1 million was given to individual firms in R&D subsidy.

In industrial districts in Sakaki (Japan), Emilia-Romagna (Italy) and Baden-Württemberg, Hirst reports, "firms coalesce and co-operate in complex networks. These networks depend on relationships of trust and mutual commitment and not simply market and contractual relationships. They are sustained by ongoing social institutions, which mix the public and the private sectors into a common 'public sphere' for the industry or region in question. Firms not only compete but also co-operate, they share information and certain common services. Such dense networks of mutually supporting firms and institutions are resilient and flexible in the way firms isolated in purely competitive relations with others cannot be. Consequently they can take what appears from the standpoint of a purely competitive market culture as unacceptable risks, that is, to adopt a long-term view, to invest in new products and processes which involve anticipating the market to invest in upgrading the skills of their workers and to share their knowledge with other firms to enhance their role as partners or subcontractors."

Today competition is primarily product- rather than price-led. Thus instead of the winner being the firm that can drive costs down the fastest, it is the firm that can achieve the most rapid product development. There is already awareness in Northern Ireland of the potential of 'clusters' of firms to achieve economic dynamism. But not just any clusters will do: a case study of two regional furniture clusters, price-led in London but product-led in Italy, found that when these came into competition the former was rapidly knocked out by the latter.

Since design/manufacturing cycles extend beyond the firm to encompass a range of suppliers of components and services, "Networking, or long-term consultative relations replace both the impersonal, inter-firm market relations and the bureaucratic internal co-ordination of the autarchic firm from the age of price-led competition."

Modern innovation theory belies the idea of isolated firms whose relationships to a fabric of social institutions can be neglected: "innovation is systemic, in the sense that firm-level innovation processes are generated and sustained by inter-firm relations and by a wide variety of inter-institutional relationships. Innovation and the creation of technology involve systematic interactions between firms and their environments: central links include those with customers and suppliers, science and technology infrastructures, finance institutions and so on."

Or, as Marquand puts it, "In the knowledge- and skill-intensive economies of the late twentieth century the crucial resources for regional economic development are, by definition, knowledge and skill. Sub-national agencies, closer than central government can possibly be to the entrepreneurs and information flows of the region for which they are responsible, are much better placed to strengthen local networks of skill and knowledge than is central government, and therefore much more likely to develop the indigenous capacities of the region."

Thus the role of public authorities is the promotion of networks which can allow firms in the region to tap into expertise and knowledge there, and indeed interconnect with networks worldwide. In a globalised context, this wider horizon has to be the benchmark of any aspirant—as Northern Ireland should see itself—to the status of a 'global region'.

Italy shows the scope for public-private partnership in this light. "The most successful of these regional economies, like the industrial districts of central Italy, provide models of economic governance based upon public-private co-operation. They achieve competitive success in two ways. Through the provision of collective services, they reduce the costs to firms of key inputs like trained labour and specialised equipment. And, through activities that range from collective marketing, to economic intelligence, to pooled R&D, firms gain from their co-operation with others."

At the heart of the institutional apparatus in Emilia-Romagna is an agency called ERVET (Ente Regionale per la Valorizzazione Economica del Territorio), established by the regional government in 1974, just four years after it came into being. ERVET provides services through 11 centres defined directly by sectoral (eg a centre for the upgrading of the shoe industry) or functional (eg a centre for the upgrading of subcontracting by the vast number of SMEs in the region) considerations.

Although ERVET is the dominant shareholder in the centres, it sets a high premium on involving as wide a social constituency as possible. "The reasons for this are twofold: first, budgetary constraints mean that all possible sources of finance must be tapped and, second, the involvement of private-sector interests means that the latter have a direct stake in the support system, which in turn enhances its credibility in the eyes of local firms, the main targets of the support system." Indeed the aim is that services should as far as possible be self-financing.

But there is more to the involvement of business in the centres than that. "The importance of the participation of firms, and business and trade associations in all aspects of the service centres cannot be over-emphasised. In a centre's preparatory phase, their participation helps to identify which services should be provided. Often, no explicit demand for services existed; they were formulated through the interaction of the various participants. Once a centre was established, the participation of these actors ensured that there would be continuous feedback on the services, thus allowing the centre to correct faults and develop new types of services when the requirements changed."

It is also notable that while the services offered by the centres include such familiar elements as training and consultancy, they also embrace product certification, market research, administration of trade fairs, assessment of the benefits or otherwise of new equipment, and the collection of information on innovative solutions to common industry problems. It is thus unsurprising that only two focus on functions internal to firms, while seven target inter-firm relations.

Nord-Rhein Westphalia offers a complex network infrastructure. It has 50 higher education institutes, 40 private applied research centres and 31 R&D institutes—as well as a Centre of Innovation and Technology. "Together these organisations form a dense network of public and private science-oriented organisations ... The transformation of the NRW infrastructure into an effective network support system has not been determined by the mere number of institutions providing innovative services. It is when these institutions are linked together that their individual information supplies and problem-solving capacities add up to a support infrastructure with a high level of connectivity."

In Baden-Württemberg the infrastructure is again remarkable. A population of fewer than 10 million supports 11 Max Planck institutes (for fundamental research), 13 Fraunhofer institutes (applied research), 20 industrial contract research institutes, 120 Steinbeis Foundation technology transfer centres (for SMEs), nine universities and 39 polytechnics. Much of the research activity is industry-orientated and funded. The regional ministry of economic affairs and technology is responsible for the Haus der Wirtschaft (trade and industry promotion), the Landesgewerbeamt (promotion of SME co-operation), the GWZ (agency for international economic co-operation), the Steinbeis Foundation (assessment of venture funding for SMEs) and the Landeskreditbank (state credit bank). There are 13 chambers of commerce, as well as industry, employer and trade union associations.

To look at the technology transfer centres in more detail, most are attached to a higher education institution; most of their 2,500+ staff are full-time professors employed by the Steinbeis Foundation. Though the foundation is publicly supported, it claims some 95 per cent of its income is from services rendered. But it is able to offer SMEs a below-market price as well as a decentralised service. Chambers of commerce—in which membership is compulsory and whose resources are therefore substantial—themselves offer a wide range of sophsticated services, including technology transfer. By diffusing best practice, the centres and chambers keep SMEs on an innovative footing.

Japan has similar arrangements to those in Germany. Regional governments have enough autonomy to draw up regionally sensitive industrial policies. And technology transfer happens through the kohsetsushi, local centres for the testing of innovations. The 178 centres are sponsored by the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency of MITI but administered by prefecture governments, which along with local authorities provide most of the funding. They offer research services, technology assistance, testing, training and management assistance to SMEs; of their 6,900 staff 5,300 are engineers and research consumes half of staff time. They also co-operate with the Japan Small Business Corporation.

The JSBC, a public agency, administers 'exchange groups' of SMEs—interestingly, not confined to the same sector—which have distinctive but potentially complementary technologies. By the early 90s there were more than 2,500 exchange groups involving some 80,000 firms. They enjoy subsidies for joint R&D expenditure. It was this emphasis on technological 'fusion' which, for example, brought dramatic diffusion of numerical control and industrial robots—through marrying mechanical and electronic technologies—in the machine tool industry in the late 70s and early 80s.

In Denmark, the semi-private Danish Technology Institute has brought into being 400 networks involving 2000 firms, with participants invited to reorganise their division of labour to mutual advantage. Thus, for example, a holding company was brought into being encompassing seven furniture firms, two of whom took responsibility for specialist production of particular lines.

The experience of Italy, Germany and Denmark has itself come to influence thinking in several US states, Massachusetts for example, which now provide seed money to stimulate manufacturing networks in defined sectors—often brokered by a third party—to address common concerns and secure economies of scale in product development, marketing, finance, training and so on. It has been estimated that by 1994 27 states were hosting 140 networks involving 2,600 firms.

Clearly, the implications for governance here are of enabling and facilitating, as much as if not more than executing and directing—steering rather than rowing, in the clichéd phrase. But that means government must see itself as operating in the context of a dense set of social and institutional networks if real partnership is to be built.

It is a worrying absence, therefore, that in all intergovernmental propositions for the future of Northern Ireland—including the 'heads of agreement' proposed in January 1998 as well as the far more detailed joint framework document of February 1995—this whole domain of public-private co-operation is nowhere addressed.

An indication of the importance of networks is the sad case of the Antrim science park. It is not that the idea of technology parks is wrong—for example, Spain has nine while Finland has seven. The problem is that such parks tend to fail if not located in proximity to a university with which organic relationships are established—a study of 116 US research parks found that links to a first-class research university were one of a number of success factors.

Reliance on local networks alone, it should be recognised, can lead to what one commentator has called the 'entropic death' of regions; innovation needs links to international networks. Thus in Italy there is evidence that the downside of the networks of trust and co-operation in its successful industrial districts may be conservatism about products and divisions of labour.

A contrary example, however, is how Emilia-Romagna learnt how it could improve its ceramics industry from the experience of Valencia—which in turn had applied a network brokerage model used in Denmark in the same industry. "Those regions which are successful in forging these links may be termed global regions and are likely to witness a significant increase in competitiveness and rapid economic development."

Indeed, the considerable economic success of Wales in recent years has been assisted by its relationships with Baden-Württemberg. Wales now has a regional technology strategy, two 'technopoles', a relay centre (for access by firms to European R&D), a variety of innovation centres, innovative training programmes and technical management initiatives.

So what's in this for Baden-Württemberg? The success of Wales has focused on attraction of inward investment, notably Japanese. Baden-Württemberg is over-dependent on the car industry where it has had to face intense Japanese competition (see below). Wales' first-hand experience of Japanese methods has thus been of value.

Baden-Württemberg's technological strengths in mechanical engineering do not extend to micro-electronics, where Wales is perceived as being more innovative. And the other side of the coin of its economic growth in the 80s has been mounting social and environmental costs, which have made location in the region increasingly unattractive; growth has turned into stagnation in the 90s.

The moral is that Northern Ireland does not have a hand-me-down economic model which can be taken from another context (it doesn't, by the by, have a political one either). Cooke, Price and Morgan's comments are apposite in this regard: "The last thing Wales needs is to be given a new model to copy; much better the posture that has been adopted of studying and learning from others but adjusting within the parameters of its own institutional structures, as they are and as they might become."

4. Mechanisms for ensuring social cohesion

Social cohesion has often been seen in the UK as something of an optional extra: as and when sufficient wealth is created, so more welfare can be distributed; indeed there has been a substantial head of steam behind the idea in recent years that even the internationally low welfare benefits which are provided in the UK inhibit wealth creation through acting as a disincentive to work. In fact, the contrary is the truth.

As Dunford and Hudson concluded from their four-regions study, "Social cohesion is not simply a product of economic success but also a precondition for it." The reason for this is that the former makes possible the networks of co-operation and trust on which the latter depends (more on 'social capital' below).

'Social exclusion' has become a recent addition to Northern Ireland's crowded political lexicon. Some might see it simply as a new-Labourisation of old poverty. On the contrary, 'social exclusion' was coined in France in the 1970s and "it would be misleading to view it as simply a new veneer on old problems. 'Social exclusion' is also contemporary, even forward-looking, as it is used to emphasise that changes in economic and social life have rendered old remedies to social problems less effective, if not obsolete. New times have brought different forms of poverty and inequality, requiring modern solutions."

Public expenditure is not a sufficient condition for success in achieving social inclusion: there is widespread consensus that traditional welfare regimes are no longer adequate for a range of reasons and need comprehensive reform and renewal. Nevertheless, substantial expenditure is a necessary condition of social inclusion measures in general and active labour market policies in particular.

The reason for this is that social inclusion is fundamentally about ensuring that everyone enjoys adequate insurance for life in today's 'risk society'. It is ensuring that the risks of unemployment, ill-health, and so on are minimised; that, should individuals fall fall of them, they do not become excluded from society; and that, should they become excluded, they are the subject of active measures for their reinclusion.

In theory, this insurance can fall on individuals privately (through private health insurance, for example), on individuals socially (through social insurance contributions by employees and employers) or society collectively (through general taxation). But it must fall somewhere, and in whatever form it does fall, as with any insurance scheme, what you get depends on what you are willing to pay, individually or severally.

The difficulty in a UK context is that government has steadily eroded its own revenue base to accommodate a tax-averse constituency, while on the other hand not exercising the necessary leadership to require individuals to develop individual insurance alternatives (though this is clearly the way government thinking is moving on pension provision). Even if it were explicitly to go down the latter route, however, there would be an obvious danger of growing middle-class tax-aversion and impoverishment of public services for the poor.

The Treasury's commitment to spending limits established by the previous administration have thus severely reduced what can be done to tackle social exclusion anywhere in the UK, as compared to the greater protection in continental Europe (hence the embarrassments to New Labour of the lone-parent benefit cut and disability benefit scares). The differentials of around 10 points in general government receipts as percentage of GDP with Germany, France and Italy, and around 20 points with Denmark and the Netherlands, that have opened up during the 18 years of the outgoing government massively restrict the freedom of manoeuvre of its successor. Moreover, despite the historic largesse built in via the Barnett formula, Northern Ireland is suffering disproportionate reductions under the plans left by the outgoing administration for 1997-98 and 1998-99.

These fiscal constraints simply render impossible in the UK approaches to social cohesion adopted in countries like Germany and Sweden. "While German and Swedish policies leave much to be desired, they do seem to provide their citizens with the means to resist the threat of social exclusion more effectively than do the British." In both the former cases, social insurance systems are near-comprehensive, with little reliance on the social security safety net; in the former, it is social insurance itself which is becoming residual, as the social security budget mushrooms.

Thus, for example, around two-thirds of the unemployed in Sweden receive earnings-related unemployment benefit, set at 80 per cent of previous earnings; whereas in the UK fewer than one in five of the unemployed receive insurance-based benefits, a flat-rate payment equivalent to only 23 per cent of previous earnings on average. (Ironically, there is far less concern about the alleged disincentive effects of these much higher benefits in Germany and Sweden than in the UK.)

Similar considerations apply to active labour market policies—training, placements, wage subsidies, job creation, etc. These are much more developed in Germany and Sweden, backed by high public expenditure; it is significant that by contrast the introduction of Welfare to Work in the UK has been confined initially to the young long-term unemployed and is dependent on a windfall tax for its funding.

As for the New Deal itself, it is crucial that it is not seen by those responsible for its delivery as, in effect, just another subsidy—with no policy purchase in return for the investment and with dissatisfied 'customers' emerging at the end of it. That is best guaranteed by ensuring that there is a clear 'contract' between every individual and the organisation which, under the four options, is responsible for their employment/education/training, under which the rights of the former, the responsibilities of the latter, and the requirements of both, are clearly defined in reasonable and agreeable terms. This would follow the model of the revenu minimum d'insertion arrangements in France.

But Welfare to Work will at best be a remedial palliative. And a further consequence of the absence of effective political leadership in the UK for many years has been to focus on such short-term measures, which can relate to electoral cycles, rather than to take a long-term view. Yet it is much better to ensure a no-failure culture in school, as in Japan and other Pacific-rim states, than to try to train its rejects later. In 1996 it was discovered that more than one in five Jobskills trainees attending the Belfast Institute for Further and Higher Education had "major problems with basic literacy and numeracy".

Northern Ireland's educational performance looks quite good against England's (though not non-selective Scotland's), but stands up very poorly internationally. In 1991-2, 39 per cent of young people in Northern Ireland achieved an upper secondary qualification (two or more A-levels or international equivalent), compared with only 29 per cent in England; but the figures for France, Germany and Japan were 48, 68 and an extraordinary 80 per cent respectively. As the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee concluded, this leaves the region's workforce hopelessly adrift of the requirements of an internationalised economy suffused by information and communication technologies and characterised by an increasing rate of innovation.

Germany, like Northern Ireland, does not have a comprehensive education system. But what is remarkable about it is that it is non-selective—post-primary transfers are determined by parents on the advice of teachers and are revocable, depending on subsequent performance—and that vocational schools intrude into the grammar/secondary binary divide. Most of the vocational pupils go on to technical universities—like the former UK polytechnics, before these pursued the status goal of universities. Indeed one of the big weaknesses of education in Northern Ireland, by comparison, is the cinderella status of vocational education: nearly four times as much is spent on higher than on further education in the region.

Yet better still to ensure all citizens start off with an equal chance in life than accept that some will always be more equal than others. At the heart of any social inclusion programme is the question of childcare in general and early-years provision in particular. No area should attract higher priority for mainstream funding.

Dramatic support for this approach is provided by the study in the US showing that every dollar spent on early years saves seven in adult costs: unemployment, crime, drug abuse and so on. Recent government commitments to expand nursery education are welcome, but just how far there is to go is indicated by the fact that Scandinavian countries spend 3-4 times as much as the UK per head on early-years education, while Germany, Austria and Italy spend nearly twice as much.

The implication of this is that for as long as global public expenditure in the UK remains depressed as a proportion of GDP compared to, say, the EU average, expenditure priorities need to shift. Within education, that will be a reorientation from high-achievers towards low-, from higher education towards vocational and nursery. This is all part of a far wider argument about the need to move in government from 'curative' to 'preventative' expenditures. Health spending should move from hospitals towards health promotion, law and order from the police towards crime prevention, and so on.

This is the wider strategic context in which the government's Comprehensive Spending Review should be set—not just a search for discrete savings to meet ever-increasing demands. Crucial legitimacy could be given to this process, which would indeed involve 'hard choices', if there were to be much greater transparency in the public expenditure allocations process. Involvement of the Northern Ireland Economic Council, revamped to include the voluntary sector, or the establishment of a Northern Ireland Economic and Social Forum to concert all the social partners afresh, would provide a mechanism for structured input by business, the unions, the farmers and the voluntary sector into budgetary allocations.

But the whole thrust of the idea of social exclusion is that civil society itself, not just government, has a responsibility to its most vulnerable members. What fundamentally differentiates European from US social models, in the round, is that both social and Christian democrats in Europe accept the biblical premise 'I am my brother's keeper'. And one of the key ways of recognising that is for the social 'insiders' to show restraint at least, and redistribution at best, towards society's outsiders.

A key role here falls on the social partners. If they are prepared to engage in 'defensive solidarity bargaining', they can favour employment rather than insider wage gains or job losses. Modern society is not just increasingly unequal in money terms; time is also increasingly ill-distributed with many in employment feeling they must work far longer than they would wish, while many out of work have nothing but time on their hands. The CBI and ICTU could thus endorse job security, reduced hours, flexible hours (in any event desirable to match domestic responsibilities), job sharing and sabbaticals, in terms of bargaining by their affiliates, to render insider/outsider barriers a little more porous.

5. Internal policy co-ordination

In Germany there is currently considerable anxiety about what is called Reformstau—the blockage of reform. Nevertheless, Northern Ireland would happily trade places with all the old 11 west German Länder, and if it may risk sclerosis undoubtedly the web of institutionalised relationships so characteristic of its 'organised capitalism' model has considerable strengths.

Take training. Matched-plant research between Northern Ireland and the former west Germany in the late 80s demonstrated a gulf in productivity, traceable in these cases not to differences in capital intensity but in the capacities of staff to use machinery to greatest effect—linked to workforce qualifications. Northern Ireland had only 45 per cent as many graduates and 49 per cent as many technicians working in manufacturing.

By 12 years after leaving school, four out of five Germans have a training certificate or a third-level degree; most of the rest have received some formal post-secondary education or training. This is achieved by a co-ordinated drive by the state, business, the unions and individuals.

The state provides vocational schools in which apprentices spend one or two days a week and sets standards for vocational qualifications. Unions and employers co-operate in defining the detailed content of apprenticeships and moderating trainee wages. Chambers of industry and commerce monitor training performance by local firms. Wage setting and monitoring by works councils prevents employers poaching trained workers as an alternative to training investment. These institutional arrangements ensure the necessary incentives for school students to work hard to compete for apprenticeships, while accepting trainee wages, and for employers to offer and subsidise training places, while accepting external regulation.

The implications of this for Northern Ireland are again that a much greater concertation needs to be effected between key social players. Yet the whole value of a regional focus is precisely that the regional level is sufficiently small-scale for trust-based personal relationships to be developed, whereas central government often betrays a remoteness from regional conditions ('the man from Whitehall knows best').

We are back again to the key role of networks. "What matters most from a developmental standpoint is not institutions per se but the networking capacity of institutions, that is their disposition to collaborate effectively for mutually beneficial ends."

Underpinning all this needs to be a commitment to nurturing what has been called 'social capital'. As Robert Putnam has pointed out, outside of a world of saints, "universal altruism is a quixotic premise for social action". Yet all of the foregoing argument depends on key actors being prepared not to look at situations from a wholly selfish perspective—such as an employer 'free-riding' by poaching other employers' skilled labour rather than invest in training him/herself. Equally, it is clear that a coercive collectivism has, globally, had its day.

The solution is to seek to accumulate social capital—trust, norms and networks which can facilitate co-ordinated action, for the long-term benefit of all. Just how beneficial this invisible form of capital can be is demonstrated by the stark contrast in economic and institutional performance between the northern and southern regions of Italy. Putnam's research into this contrast came up with surprising results. The economic achievements of regions like Lombardy are not themselves the cause of effective governance structures. Rather, both are in part the effect of the greater civic culture embedded in the northern regions, reflected in both the 'civic-mindedness' of its citizens and their involvement in associational life.

In northern Italy, a virtuous circle exists. Social capital tends to accumulate, not deplete, when used (indeed it depletes when unused), and the northern regions betray a self-reinforcing and cumulative reliance on trust, norms and networks. Because, for example, two firms participate together in a network, with clear norms as to how they should behave, they develop greater trust, which in turn brings commitment to participation in the network ... and so on. In the south, however, matters are different: dependency, individualism and corruption prevent the civic participation and collaboration out of which economic and political success are made.

"Emilia-Romagna is not populated by angels, but within its borders (and those of neighbouring regions in north-central Italy) collective action of all sorts, including government, is facilitated by norms and networks of civic engagement." Cynicism may, in that sense, be an even bigger dragon to slay in Northern Ireland than sectarianism.

One of the barriers to effective government action is, of course, the problem of interdepartmentalism. Government is not organised by task but department. The orientation therefore tends towards executing a process rather than securing an outcome.

"The core problem for government is that it has inherited from the nineteenth century a model of organisation that is structured around functions and services rather than around solving problems. Budgets are divided into separate silos for health, education, law and order and so on. The vertical links between departments and agencies in any one field and professional groups such as the police, teachers, doctors and nurses are strong. The horizontal links are weak or non-existent."

Unfortunately, this quest for 'holistic government' is in its infancy, as everywhere the focus of public management reform in the 1980s and 90s has tended to be on rendering service delivery more 'efficient'—through agentisation, privatisation, purchaser-provider division and so on. The fundamental problem of departmentalism has not been affected (indeed co-ordination problems have been reinforced as government has fragmented).

Holistic government not only implies a preventative, rather than curative, focus. It also entails that budgets and organisations be defined in terms of outcomes, not service delivery (however efficient). Take a simple micro-example from France: youth homelessness. Like almost all problems, this straddles conventional departments: young people without a roof will also be without a job, and they may well suffer social or psychological damage from family break-up—a task therefore for the housing authorities, the employment service and social services, at least. The answer in France has been to establish foyers—hostels where young people can be housed, where they can have structured training, and where their personal problems can be attended to.

Once more, there are no identikit models for Northern Ireland to copy. Suffice it to say that its small size and the sense that new governance structures are (at its most optimistic) in the making potentially allows new approaches to be tried.

In this regard, however, it is worrying that some proposals for a new Northern Ireland assembly envisage no superordinate body above departmental committees. An executive structure is imperative if 'departmental silos' are to prised open.This is where a regional development agency in Northern Ireland could play a unique role. By having a brief which cut across departmental lines, it could much more readily adopt an holistic perspective.


6. Linking top-down and bottom-up approaches

Ensuring co-ordination between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' approaches is essentially a matter of developing a proper relationship at regional level between civil society and state.

Take a major problem that arose in Baden-Württemberg. The large car firms in the region, like Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Audi, discovered that Japanese companies using 'lean production' methods could produce a car as good as a Mercedes for half the price. Lean production means extensive use of subcontractors, however, and the problem the German firms faced was that their small suppliers did not have the capacity to carry out the R&D required to save costs, despite pressure to do so.

In a region like Baden-Württemberg, however, there will be a branch of the machinery industry employers' association, in touch with a very large number of firms, so that a problems such as this will be quickly flagged up. Because there is a regional government, the employers' representative will in turn be able quickly to make contact with the key civil servant in the ministry for industry, or the minister him/herself. In this case, two months after the first signals of the problem occurring a large US industrial consultant had been commissioned.

The research recommended that the SMEs co-operate to support the R&D which they couldn't execute themselves. But the former responded by saying that this risked sharing their know-how with competitor suppliers. So the answer was to allocate the problem to one of the Fraunhofer research institutes: independent if in part publicly funded, it was able to act as honest broker amongst the SMEs. "This is a sign of what happens in an institution-rich region, where the state is not the centre of activity, but is there in a support role, along with intermediaries. A sign of what can be done when you have regional government."

This is a subtle point. While the Land government has been centrally involved in devising an innovation strategy to address the global challenges of the 1990s, the principle of Selbstverwaltung (the self-government of society by the organised groups within it) remains intact—this is not French-style dirigism. "In contrast to the dirigiste approach, the regional state in Baden-Württemberg is trying to animate these groups so that they are more, not less, able to help themselves."

In Northern Ireland there is a tendency to assume the state will, would or should do everything. It is an assumption which has to change if responsibility is to be more widely diffused and the necessary investment made in developing trust-based, problem-solving networks.

Thus while in Denmark the return of the Social Democrats to power in 1993 brought back the state more centrally into industrial policy, this was in a 'dialogic and developmental' fashion. Amin and Thomas conclude that "what appears to be emerging ... is a complex governance network in which the central authority plays the role of strategy maker, coordinator, arbitrator and consensus builder. As a consequence ... the state is also having to attend to the equally important role of fostering a common frame of meaning and action among relevant economic and social organisations."

The concept of the 'negotiated economy' has been developed to comprehend this set of relationships in Denmark. As a form of governance, it has five aspects: "The first is a high level of interest representation and organisation of public life across economy, politics and society. The second is the considerable spread of decisional authority and autonomy across a system of plural interest representation. Third, and as a consequence, the state plays a distinctive role as arbitrator and facilitator between autonomous organisations, in addition to that of rule-maker and specialised provider of collective services. The fourth aspect concerns the evolution of a dense network of vertical and horizontal channels of representation and communication as the basis for decision-making and policy co-ordination. The final aspect is the reliance on iterative dialogue for conflict resolution and policy consensus, through a variety of routine organisational devices such as informal policy networks, arbitration councils, multi-interest special committees and co-representation."

This last point is perhaps the most crucial. For a key concern in the 90s, even for successful regions like Emilia-Romagna, is that today's prosperous economy can become tomorrow's backwater, given the impact of intense global competition on endogenously-engendered growth, and given the increasing pace of trechnological innovation. Policy must thus not just be got right: it requires constant re-evaluation, in conjunction with key actors in the real economic world, if it is to continue to meet the needs of the moment and grasp the opportunities of the time.

7. Reflecting regional needs at 'national' level


Northern Ireland's experience of macro-economic policy management determined by the contemporary economic and policy climate of the home counties has not always been a happy one. In the early 60s, the tight fiscal squeeze did for Lord Brookeborough's premiership at Stormont. In the early 80s, the pursuit of what the economics editor of the Observer called 'sado-monetarism' had disastrous de-industrialising effects on the region as a series of branch plants closed.

Despite some worthy work in Parliament by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (for example its recent report on educational disadvantage), Northern Ireland remains unable to impress any substantial regional concerns—outside of the narrowly political—UK-wide. The televising of Parliament in the 1980s dramatically revealed the ghettoisation of Northern Ireland concerns, with the sea of green benches visible at Northern Ireland question time.

It is unfortunate in that context that government has so far confined its proposals on the second chamber to removal of hereditary peers. Germany provides a useful alternative model, where the Bundesrat provides a forum for representatives of the 16 Länder. Transforming the obsolete Lords into a vehicle for representation of the regions and nations of a devolving UK represents the obvious way forward.

Similar considerations apply to monetary policy specifically, which via interest rates can impose unnecessarily harsh constraints on a high-unemployment region like Northern Ireland. It is thus very welcome that the recent appointments to the court of the now quasi-independent Bank of England have included Roy Bailie. The independence of the Bundesbank in Germany is well-known; the regional representation from the Länder on the bank is less so.

The influence of regional government at national level is, only at first sight paradoxically, proportional to the degree of autonomy the region enjoys. Thus, Rhône-Alpes enjoys less influence over national government than its Italian and German counterparts in the Four Motors project, lacking as it does legislative powers.

The principle of cumul de mandats (multiple postholding), it is true, does allow regional politicians to become national political figures in France. But leaders holding dual or even triple mandates in Northern Ireland has had obvious negative effects on performance—at all levels.

Of course, for a very high proportion of the population in Northern Ireland, the 'national' to which they refer is Ireland. Irrespective of that, it is in everyone's interests in the region to ensure its governance structures are consonant with the pursuit of its broad public interest in an Irish context. The recent policy disaster of the abandonment of the common tourism logo, by unilateral decision of the minister in the republic, is a negative case in point.

What help can we derive, then, from transfrontier initiatives elsewhere in Europe? Sabine Weyand points out that central governments still tend to regard these as part of international relations and that regions can only take responsibility for external policy fields for which they hold internal competence. This highlights the proportionate relationship between the degree of autonomy of any new Northern Ireland administration and its capacity to pursue north-south co-ordination. A useful target of inter-regional agreements in Europe in this context has been to secure, through co-ordination, an outcome no less favourable than would have been achieved had the regions concerned been part of the same member state.

Other, more negative, lessons comes from one of the grandest of inter-regional agreements, the 'Four Motors of Europe'. Founded in 1988, this brought together Rhône-Alpes, Baden-Württemberg, Lombardy and Catalonia, yet its high expectations for high-tech synergy have not been borne out: "The approach they have taken could be characterised as a 'top-down' approach to co-operation. Projects have in general been conceived at a political level and do not necessarily address any particular need of the regions involved ... Co-operation is thus in effect limited to the public sector; economic and social actors, not to mention the public at large, are not actively involved. Institutions which might help to structure interaction and ensure continuity have not been established. Co-operation has therefore very often taken the form of ad-hoc events such as conferences or exhibitions rather than medium to long-term projects."

By contrast, the longstanding 'SaarLorLux' association—embracing Saarland, Lorraine and Luxembourg—has been more successful. Integration requires 'social learning' on either side of borders, Weyand argues. "Associations such as SarLorLux ... with their extensive involvement of a range of governmental and social actors and their emphasis on creating contacts between the citizens of their regions, thus offer better chances for 'social learning' than purely or predominantly governmental associations, like, for instance, the 'Four Motors of Europe'."

Much of this comes down to popular political will. In an Irish context, O'Neill rightly insists. "It is the vision inside the heads of business people and citizens on both sides of the border that is the most important variable shaping the future for this island. A huge potential exists for enhanced co-operation between companies on both sides of the border, sharing marketing costs as well as investment costs. Such networks, successfully employed in Denmark and other European countries, could be put quickly into place, playing a catalytic role in releasing the potential for trade-led growth. It is people who will build the future, not economic models or international funds. Hence a key priority for policy-makers and businesses will be to build cross-border linkages: between educational institutions and enterprises; between voluntary groups and local authorities; and between suppliers and new customers.



General conclusions


It is already well accepted in the economic debate in Northern Ireland, for example around the Growth Challenge, that so-called 'agglomeration economies'—commonly referred to as clusters—are important to the region's wellbeing. But this paper takes the argument much further, towards an overall strategic economic perspective. It has looked not only at the what but also the how of regional economic development in the round in several other contexts.

Amin and Thrift argue that "the pertinent message to emerge from the volume of research on new industrial agglomerations such as Silicon Valley and industrial districts in Italy, or other centres of growth such as the City of London or Hollywood, is that global processes can be 'pinned down' in some places, to become the basis for self-sustaining growth at the local level."

The emphasis in understanding industrial agglomerations, they contend, has shifted from economic (eg product specialisation) to social and cultural factors—such as inter-firm collaboration, common industrial purpose, social consensus, institutional supports, and so on. In turn, this means a focus on place. Face-to-face contacts matter; social and cultural interactions occur in defined geographical areas.

The 'institutional thickness' of a region is thus crucial to success, from financial institutions to chambers of commerce to innovation centres and so. But not just any institutions: the north-east of England, for instance, like Northern Ireland, has plenty of ineffective institutions.

And institutions are only a necessary, not a sufficient, condition of 'thickness': "The institutions involved must be actively engaged with and conscious of each other, displaying high levels of contact, co-operation, and information exchange ... often embodied in shared rules, conventions, and knowledge ..."

What is further required are 'patterns of coalition', so that collective representation rises above sectional interests and rogue behaviour is controlled. And last, but by no means least, it is essential that the participants in these institutions recognise themselves to be involved in a common enterprise with at least a 'loosely defined script' to which they adhere.

'Thickness' establishes legitimacy, nourishes trust, stimulates entrepreneurship and consolidates the 'embeddedness' of firms. "It is, in other words, a simultaneous collectivisation and corporatisation of economic life, fostered and facilitated by particular institutional and cultural traditions ..."

But the global context means Northern Ireland's 'particular traditions' must be reinvented. Amin and Thrift conclude that "what is needed is to develop a more open and positive cultural regionalism which can cope with the increase in the economic, social and cultural connections between places that globalisation has helped to bring about. It will be a regionalism based on more open, mobile, and inclusive senses of identity, able to be positioned in a set of economic, social, and cultural networks of global extent, but not swamped by them."

In their study for the Northern Ireland Economic Council of successful EU regions, Dunford and Hudson highlighted a number of features from which Northern Ireland can learn. Prosperous regions, they discovered,

  • exhibit a high degree of social cohesion and inclusion;
  • achieve co-operative industrial relations, matching flexibility with security;
  • enjoy inter-firm co-operation and networking;
  • embed high-value-added inward investment in the regional economy;
  • pursue strategies to foster innovation and technology transfer;
  • have enabling institutions of governance, which have 'learned to learn';
  • maximise the potential of cross-border synergies; and
  • manifest a vibrant civil society, to which the state is permeable.

In its statement on their research, the NIEC pulled no political punches. Urging a 'culture of commitment' throughout the political, economic and social spectrum in Northern Ireland, it said: "One of the themes to emerge from the case studies is the importance of developing governance and institutional arrangements based on co-operation and trust. These make it easier to develop a strategic and integrated policy approach and they facilitate a shared culture of commitment involving the public and private sectors as well as local authorities and the voluntary and community sector. While it is undoubtedly the case that all of these sectors are showing much increased signs of effort and enthusiasm to resolve economic problems, it is also clear that these efforts are taking place against a backdrop of long-standing and deep division within society. The vital ingredient of local political leadership has been lacking. In these circumstances, it is highly questionable whether it is realistically possible to generate the degree of co-operation and trust that are found to be at the core of other more successful parts of Europe. This places great emphasis on reaching agreement on governance structures for Northern Ireland that will promote successful economic development."

Interestingly, given the political tensions which bedevil Northern Ireland, the international evidence compiled in this paper suggests that we do not have to wait, in making progress on its governance, until the vanishing point when all unionists and nationalists redirect their sense of identity from London or Dublin to focus on the region. The economic achievements of Rhône-Alpes, for example, an entirely artificial construction, indicate that a regional identity as such is not a precondition for success. Indeed, on the contrary, "Political institutions at the regional level are ... able to mould identity by introducing dialogue and collaboration between social actors and defining common regional interests."

The experience of Emilia-Romagna also bears out this perspective. Drawing on that experience, Nanetti argues that the developing European (and, it could be added, global) context requires that regional institutions not just be "administrative-managerial" but bearers of "a creative and proactive policy approach". And the elements of a strategic response, of which they can be architects, logically follow:

  • mediating between competing economic and social interests to establish common objectives;
  • promoting economic activity via analysis and intervention;
  • experimenting economically with new forms of finance, pilot projects and technological diffusion;
  • delivering services to business and consumer associations; and
  • realising policies and evaluating outcomes.

In addition, the context of regional institutions requires:

  • co-ordination on an inter-regional [and in this context all-Ireland] basis;
  • articulation of objectives vis-à-vis big companies, especially transnationals;
  • initiative and collaboration with state and EU institutions: and
  • interpretation and implementation of state and EU initiatives.

In a sentence, Hutton encapsulates much of the argument in this paper: "The degree to which an economy's institutions succeed in underpinning trust and continuity is the extent to which long-term competitive strength can be sustained."

And as to the political implications, particularly of the economic success of the German and Italian regions discussed above, Hutton writes: "The partnership and solidarity of Rhine-Alpine social market institutions has not been built in a political vacuum. It is supported by a particular kind of state. Regional government is strong and culturally entrenched, with a strong tradition of autonomy and a vigorous regional media ... [T]he state is seen as part of civil society, rather than ruling from above it."

A more general philosophical point brings us back to the considerations signalled in the introduction to this paper about forms of governance. "Belatedly, the identification of 'entrepreneurship' with 'heroic individualism', which has been very pronounced in Anglo-American ideology, and perhaps nowhere more so than in the literature on Silicon Valley, is gradually being superseded by an emphasis upon collaboration within the firm, between firms and between public and private agencies in the wider economy. In other words, the most successful corporate and regional strategies are those which have come to terms with the fact that innovation is best secured through what one might call collective entrepreneurship: a networking strategy in which the burden of innovation is spread across a wide social constitutency."

General recommendations

1. In the light particularly of the government's commitment to a strategic economic development review for Northern Ireland, a series of round-tables should be organised, drawing together all the social partners and elected representatives, with representation from all the socio-economic agencies and the academic world, to establish:

(a) a detailed picture of the regional productive system

(b) a set of strategic goals for Northern Ireland as a 'global region'

(b) the key problems and barriers inhibiting progress

(c) the specific institutions and networks required to tackle these obstacles.

2. The aim should be that this Strategic Forum would not only generate the first strategic report since Quigley in 1976 but would also, through spin-off working groups, begin to translate concrete aspects into particular effect. Crucial would be its ability (unfortunately not so far achieved by the Growth Challenge) to secure a high public profile, including the attraction of submissions and commissioned expertise, generating a real sense of momentum and achievement—a 'culture of commitment'—cementing relationships between the economic, political and popular domains.

3. Action by government is however crucial if this continuing economic dialogue is to be translated into reality. This can be done in three ways through the establishment of a regional development agency (see below), the revamping of the Northern Ireland Economic Council or the establishment by government of a standing Northern Ireland Economic and Social Forum. This would be crucial to offsetting the danger of a hyper-politicisation of economic concerns, in the context of a new political dispensation, were politicians to monopolise the discussion. It could also provide a focus for establishing a commitment to a serious attack on social exclusion.

4. If such a settlement does obtain, the NIEC should be charged with orchestrating a new concord between the social partners, in the manner secured by the NESC in the republic in the late 80s, in the expectation that this would underpin new structures of regional governance. These arrangements should cover a broad economic and social agenda, so that the participants can see a broader public benefit from the exercise of private restraint. In any event, the social partners should encourage 'defensive solidarity bargaining'.

5. As to such structures of governance themselves, they should clearly have legislative, not just administrative, character; any new assembly should have decision-making, not just advisory, power. They should also enjoy some scope for fiscal manoeuvre, including tax-varying powers (as in Scotland). The goal should be that they should have the optimum power to orchestrate a distinctive regional approach.

6. In the context of a settlement, a great premium will attach to political leadership if Northern Ireland is to face the severe competitive challenges of the 21st century. Developing the networks for problem-solving, building the social capital on which progress depends, requires constant strategic direction and re-evaluation. New arrangements therefore require a single executive, accountable to the legislature, not just separate committee chairs. And the temptation to construct a bureaucratic maze of institutions, to appease this or that demand of this or that party, must be resisted in the name of transparency and clarity of purpose.

7. Such leadership must however be matched by collaboration. If trust is to be built in the socio-economic domain, the political sphere must provide a model. It should therefore be accepted as a fundamental principle of any governance arrangements that, apart from any entrenched human rights provisions, one simple check and balance (and one only) should apply. All decisions by the assembly and executive should be capable of commanding a weighted majority, if put to a vote, unless the relevant body decides otherwise by weighted majority (to break a deadlock). This would establish a decision-making norm of dialogue and deliberation, to which all participants could see the only alternative was the collapse of government.

8. Consultation should also be the watchword of any new arrangements. As Emilia-Romagna showed, ensuring new institutions of regional governance are strategically driven requires widespread consultation of local and interest-group opinion. It should be required of committees of any new assembly that they should approach their work in this participatory mode, inviting widespread submissions, hearing witnesses, etc, before elaborating their own conclusions.

9. Government is embarking on a review of institutional arrangements in the arena of economic development. Business is already making clear this is putting the cart before the horse: the institutions should flow from the strategy they are intended to implement. The implications of this study are that what is crucial is not so much the form of the institutions but the density of the networks in which they interact—with each other, with firms, with university and research institutes, and so on.

10. As to specific institutions, the right balance needs to be struck between accountability and autonomy. Economic development agencies should have clearly defined roles, according to the strategic direction of a new assembly and executive, but within those they should be enabled to work in a dynamic and innovative fashion.

11. The agencies' principal role must move away from acting as subsidisers of individual firms' bottom line towards above all acting as network brokers, identifying problems and responding to them in an imaginative way, taking advantage of the smallness of Northern Ireland to construct effective relationships. They must engage in a continuing iterative process of re-evaluating their roles and inter-relationships. They must anticipate an atmosphere of change rather than a reassuring stability, an expectation of expanding possibilities rather than merely executing a brief.

12. This also entails key requirements in terms of the boards of the agencies and their staff. The former must be as broadly based as possible, to generate creative mixes, but there should be no suggestion of seats as of rights for time-servers from any organisation (whether business, trade union or other). All should be appointed through public advertisement and interview. The latter must operate according to the most modern organisational practices, not conventional civil-service hierarchies, and particularly at senior level appointments should be sought from the widest range of sources. Reliance on the 'usual suspects' should at all costs be avoided.

13. Transparency and accessibility should also be key. How the agencies have identified problems, what they are doing about them and how they intend to relate to firms in particular sectors in the process need to be clearly established and amenable to outside influence. Firms themselves need to develop much more organic relationships. Chambers of commerce and trade can act outside government as important brokers of collaborative relationships.

14. A further crucial factor will be the ability of new regional governance structures and/or agencies to operate on a global platform and according to global standards. They must seek out networks and collaborative possibilities wherever possible, refusing to be constrained by boundary definitions which have no business relevance. They must certainly be able to 'punch their weight' on a European stage.

15. In particular, the Irish border must be redefined as a problem to be surmounted, not an obstacle to be raised (or, for that matter, a fence to be smashed). The same principles—of accountability, autonomy and accessibility—should apply to any agencies established on a transfrontier as on an internal basis. Such new agencies should have executive capacity within the finite array of competencies which for geographical reasons are best executed on an island-wide basis, or where (on a more narrowly cross-border basis) these are alternatively required to counteract the divisive effects of partition on border areas.

16. Beyond that, aim should be to secure policy co-ordination and network brokerage across an infinite agenda, throwing up new institutions to solve problems as and when required. Whether this thickening web or relationships ever issued into a united Ireland could be left for future generations to decide. The big prize would to build trust—social capital—to replace the years of enmity with which partition has been associated.

An RDA for Northern Ireland?

There is a specific case, finally, for a regional development agency for Northern Ireland, as the dynamo and hub of new arrangements, the animateur of strategic activity, based on a clear and coherent perspective.

The existing institutional structure should be rethought in the light. Currently, the IDB, LEDU, TEA and IRTU fall between two institutional stools: they are too fragmented to think strategically, but they are too generalist to provide the specific services particular firms and sectors require—and that is apart from what seems from their published reports to be non-existent interrelationships. Contrast the structure in Emilia-Romagna, with the single regional development agency on the one hand and the 11 service centres on the other, the latter tailored to addressing identified needs and involving business representation.

The Emilian experience also underscores the need, before a regional development strategy is initiated, first to identify the regional productive system. The 'Competitiveness in the 1990s' strategy and its quinquennial review fail to transcend thinking based abstractly on the individual firm: there is actually very little concrete that indicates it is a strategy for Northern Ireland rather than A N Other region. The role of networks and their public brokers, the contribution of the social partners, the challenge of generating 'institutional thickness'—indeed all the themes in this paper—are notable by their absence.

As ERVET leads the way in Emilia-Romagna, Halkier and Danson have argued more generally: "One of the most conspicuous developments in the field of regional policy over the last two decades has been the rise of 'bottom-up' initiatives conducted from within the regions, and an important part in this process has been played by semi-autonomous public bodies, the so-called regional development agencies (RDAs)."

They have identified three features of a 'model RDA':

an 'arms-length' relationship with the sponsoring political authority;

a strategic focus on supporting mainly indigenous firms, using 'soft' policy instruments; and

integrated implementation of the strategy, drawing upon a broad range of policy instruments.

The first of these entails that the role of the sponsoring authority is confined to broad policy guidelines and resource allocation, leaving the strategic initiative and discretionary powers with the agency. Political interference has had a damaging impact on performance of RDAs in Greece, and the need is for the degree of autonomy to think long-term and developmentally.

More than 80 per cent of a sample of RDAs surveyed by Halkier and Danson had semi-autonomous status. More than 80 per cent also relied for finance on the sponsoring authority. The most common institutional form is a non-profit foundation, a joint-stock company or a public limited-liability company. Government finance often takes the form of a shareholding, but there is a trend towards increased financial independence, based in revenue for services.

A notable trend is that more recently established RDAs are less likely to replicate the traditional focus of central government in seeking primarily to attract investment from outside the region (the 'regions as containers' approach) and more likely to elaborate new programmes prioritising 'soft' instruments geared to the growth and competitiveness of indigenous firms. A parallel shift is from reliance on segregated instruments to integration of programmes.

Thus traditional agencies focus on offering advice in terms of investment attraction and access to grants; infrastructurally they provide advance factories. The new agencies focus on advice on general management, markets and production/technology; infrastructurally they look to science parks, training and so on. In terms of finance, they tend to utilise equity or loans.

Controlling ownership of individual firms creates a conflict with the strategic task of the agency. But a major weakness in Northern Ireland is the absence of a regional industrial bank, such as are found in Germany, which could follow the lead by an RDA in injecting substantial equity or other finance into firms with a long-term commitment and a gentle payback slope. This highlights how there is no panacea for Northern Ireland's economic challenges. No one agency, however well constituted and led, can do it alone.

The Halkier/Danson sample was divided between one half comprising agencies which met these three model criteria and the other half which "diverges from the prescriptions of the RDA approach, mainly because they do concentrate on a limited number of often rather traditional policy programmes and hence do not have the capacity for developing an integrated approach with an indigenous strategic thrust".

Because network brokerage is at the heart of regional development, the individuals involved must have appropriate capacities. They can not be of a 'civil service' mind: "Generally speaking, those who are active in regional development must be dynamic, strongly motivated people who are also good communicators."

How 'arms-length' the appointments are varies: in some cases other public or private organisations in addition to government make appointments. Businesspeople are usually represented on the RDA board (indeed enterprises often are shareholders). Other key actors are research and training institutes. And 'environmental and equity objectives' require broad participation of trade unions and other NGOs in defining an RDA's function and on its board.

What is the mission of an RDA? "The objective being to mobilise a specific potential rather than to impose a generally applicable model for regional development, RDA structure and activities must be a response to specific local conditions, focusing limited resources on the most promising activities, and adapting to changes in those conditions. The overall objective is to strengthen or create networks—among enterprises owned by local businessmen and external investors, among enterprises and other actors in the region, such as research institutes. The objective, in short, is to promote regional self-organisation through networking."

The key tasks of an RDA include to develop a regional economic strategy, "by monitoring regional and external (national/international) developments, assessing their possible effects on the region and mobilising entrepreneurs and other relevant actors (universities, R&D establishments, trade unions) for a response on the basis of regionally available resources. This should be a continuous process."

Other tasks are:

identifying regional investment resources and providing investment support (such as through a revolving fund), including venture capital through the local banking system;

  • attracting inward investment, but with a view to maximising linkages with the regional economy;
  • elaborating thematic projects, eg promoting international sub-contracting;
  • promoting environmentally sustainable activities;
  • establishing/promoting training programmes focused on regional skill needs;
  • helping ensure the availability of an adequate industrial infrastructure; and
  • providing a one-stop information service to entrepreneurs.

To accomplish such tasks, RDA staff must be highly competent in development issues—not generic public servants—and must have an 'enterprising attitude'.

The implications of all this for Northern Ireland are:

(i) that a Regional Development Agency should be established, particularly were there to be a new regional assembly, so that one body is charged with elaborating and sustaining an effective regional development strategy;

(ii) its guidelines and budget should be a task of such an assembly, but otherwise the agency should exercise wide discretion;

(iii) the agency should have the capacity to establish a range of industrially sensitive service centres as it felt appropriate;

(iv) a key focus of the agency's work should be the establishment and strengthening of networks involving firms, associations and other agencies;

(v) the agency should have a board with a maximum 15 members with appropriate capacities, including representation from business, specific institutes, trade unions and the voluntary sector, and ensuring some geographical diversity; and

(vi) the staff should not be moved around from within the civil service but should be newly appointed with the necessary specific skills and aptitudes.

Crucially, the future of the existing DED agencies should be reviewed in the light of this new approach.


  1. Paul Hirst, From Statism to Pluralism: Democracy, Civil Society and Global Politics, UCL Press, London, 1997, p101
  2. Kevin Morgan, 'Innovating by networking: new models of corporate and regional development", in Mick Dunford and Grigoris Kafkalas eds, Cities and Regions in the New Europe, Belhaven Press, London, 1992, p151
  3. Commission of the European Communities, 'Competitiveness and cohesion: trends in the regions', Fifth Periodic Report on the Social and Economic Situation and Development of the Regions in the Community, Luxembourg, 1994
  4. Roland Gustafsson, 'Competitiveness, innovation and technical change from a Nordic perspective', in Alden and Boland eds, Regional Development Strategies, Jessica Kingsley/Regional Studies Association, London, 1996, pp 218-9
  5. A Gough, 'Northern Ireland civil expenditure on research and development', Economic Outlook and Business Review, vol 11, no 4, December 1996, pp 13-14
  6. Hannu Tervo, 'European integration and development of the Finnish regions', in Alden and Boland eds, op cit, p235
  7. David Marquand, The New Reckoning: Capitalism, States and Citizens, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1997, p27
  8. ibid, p28
  9. Paul Hirst, op cit, p29
  10. Michael Dunford and Ray Hudson, 'Decentralised models of governance and economic development: lessons from Europe', in Northern Ireland Economic Council, Decentralised Government and Economic Performance in Northern Ireland, occasional paper 7, NIEC, Belfast, 1996, p199
  11. ibid, pp 205-6
  12. Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, Building Partnerships for Prosperity: Sustainable Growth, Competitiveness and Employment in the English Regions, Cm 3814, 1997 (While Northern Ireland is referred to once or twice in the white paper on RDAs, there is an embarrassing reference to the Northern Ireland Development Agency—evidently mindless of the fact that no such body has existed for 16 years.)
  13. The current arrangements for economic development in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions are clearly set out in Confederation of British Industry, Regions for Business: Improving Policy Design and Delivery, London, 1997, pp 13-14
  14. United Nations International Development Organisation, Regional Industrial Development Agencies, Vienna, 1997
  15. Udo Bullman, 'The politics of the third level', Regional and Federal Studies, vol 6, no 2, 1996, pp 4-10
  16. P Lloyd and R Meegan, 'Contested governance: European exposure in the English regions', in Alden and Boland eds, op cit, p62 (emphasis in original)
  17. Marquand, op cit, p28
  18. Shari O Garmise, 'Economic development strategies in Emilia-Romagna', in Martin Rhodes ed, The Regions in the New Europe, Manchester University Press, 1995, p138
  19. R Leonardi and R Nanetti, The Regions and European Integration: The Case of Emilia-Romagna, Pinter, London/New York, 1990, p14
  20. ibid, p21
  21. Garmise, op cit, pp 147-8
  22. ibid, p158
  23. P Cooke, A Price and K Morgan, 'Regulating regional economies: Wales and Baden-Württemberg in transition', in Rhodes, op cit, 1995
  24. ibid, p129
  25. A Amin and D Thomas, 'The negotiated economy: state and civic institutions in Denmark', paper delivered at COST A7 workshop, National Economic and Social Governance and European Integration, Dublin, May 1996, p13
  26. Rory O'Donnell and Colm O'Reardon, 'Ireland's experiment in social partnership, 1987-96', paper delivered at COST A7 workshop, Dublin, 1996, p2
  27. T J Baker, D Duffy, F Shortall, Quarterly Economic Commentary, Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, December 1997, p5
  28. O'Donnell and O'Reardon, op cit, p2
  29. ibid, pp 2-3
  30. ibid, pp 14-15
  31. DETR, op cit, p9
  32. Will Hutton, The State We're In, Jonathan Cape, London, 1995, p269
  33. Michael Best, Competitive Dunamics and Industrial Modernisation Programmes: Lessons from Japan and America, Northern Ireland Economic Council report 115, Belfast, 1995, pp 20-1
  34. Hirst, op cit, p79
  35. Best, op cit, pp 14 & 22
  36. ibid, p20
  37. Heigi Wiig and Michelle Wood, 'What comprises a regional innovation system? theoretical base and indicators', in James Simmie ed, Innovation, Networks and Learning Regions?, Jessica Kingsley/Regional Studies Association, London, 1997, pp 66-7
  38. Marquand, op cit, p122
  39. Robert Huggins, 'Competitiveness and the global region: the role of networking', in ibid, p103
  40. Hirst, op cit, p35
  41. Philip Cooke and Kevin Morgan, 'Growth regions under duress: renewal strategies in Baden Württemberg and Emilia-Romagna', in Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift eds, Globalization, Institutions and Regional Development in Europe, Oxford University Press, 1994, pp 109-10
  42. Garmise, op cit, p152
  43. ibid, p151, 153
  44. Huggins, op cit, pp 116-7
  45. Cooke and Morgan, op cit, pp 99-100
  46. Morgan, op cit. pp 162-3
  47. Hutton, op cit, p274
  48. Best, op cit, p31
  49. ibid, pp 25-7
  50. Amin and Thomas, op cit, p16
  51. Philip Cooke, 'European experiences of regional economic development', in Andy Roberts ed, Power to the People? Economic Self-determination and the Regions, European Dialogue/Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, London, 1993, p12
  52. Best, op cit, pp 7-8
  53. 'Proposition on Heads of Agreement', Northern Ireland Office, Belfast, January 12th 1998
  54. Franz Tödtling, 'The uneven landscape of innovation poles: local embeddedness and global networks', in Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift eds, Globalisation, Institutions and Regional Development in Europe, Oxford University Press, 1994
  55. Huggins, op cit, p102
  56. Paul Hirst, op cit, p9
  57. Cooke, op cit, p13
  58. Huggins, op cit, p119
  59. P Cooke, A Price and K Morgan, op cit, p114
  60. ibid, p115
  61. Dunford and Hudson, Successful European Regions: Northern Ireland Learning from Others, NIEC research monograph 3, Belfast, 1996, p187
  62. Paul Teague and Robin Wilson, 'Towards an inclusive society', in Teague and Wilson eds, Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion, Democratic Dialogue report 2, Belfast, 1995, p79
  63. Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, Sage, London, 1992
  64. Eurostat 1994
  65. Northern Ireland Economic Council, The 1997 UK Budget: Implications for Northern Ireland, November 1997
  66. J Clasen, A Gould and J Vincent, Long-term Unemployment and the Threat of Social Exclusion: A Cross-national Analysis of the Position of Long-Term Unemployed People in Germany, Sweden and Britain, The Policy Press/Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Bristol, 1997, pp 6-12
  67. ibid, p37
  68. Rodgers, 'The design of policy against exclusion', in G Rodgers, C Gore and J B Figueiredo eds, Social Exclusion: Rhetoric, Reality, Responses, International Labour Organisation, Geneva, 1995, p258
  69. See the contributions by David Reynolds and Roger Goodman to Demos Quarterly, issue 6, 1995
  70. Memo by BIFHE director, submitted to Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, published in the committee's second report, Underachievement in Northern Ireland Secondary Schools, Stationery Office, London, 1997, p146
  71. ibid, p ix—admittedly, Japan's suicide rate amongst young people is no great advertisement in this regard
  72. ibid, p xii
  73. Memo by Tony Gallagher, submitted to Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, op cit, p41
  74. T Gallagher, I Shuttleworth and C Gray, Educational Achievement in Northern Ireland: Patterns and Prospects, Northern Ireland Economic Council research monograph 4, 1997, p12
  75. ibid, p10
  76. Perri 6, Holistic Government, Demos paper 30, London, 1997
  77. Teague and Wilson, op cit, p87
  78. ibid, p84
  79. Paul Gorecki, figures presented to an Irish Congress of Trades Unions seminar, Armagh, October 1996
  80. Wendy Carlin, West German Growth and Institutions, 1945-90, Discussion Paper no 84, Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, 1994, pp 36-7
  81. Kevin Morgan, op cit, p72
  82. Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton University Press, 1993, p164
  83. ibid, p115
  84. Perri 6, op cit, pp 9-10
  85. Cooke, op cit, pp 11-12
  86. Cooke, Price and Morgan, op cit, p131
  87. Amin and Thomas, op cit (their emphasis), p18
  88. ibid , pp 3-4
  89. Robin Wilson, 'Political slow learners are reflected clearly in Ireland's tale of two logos', Irish Times, November 20th, 1997
  90. Sabine Weyand, 'Inter-regional associations and the European integration process', Regional and Federal Studies, vol 6, no 2, summer 1996, pp 168, 171
  91. ibid, p175
  92. ibid, p180
  93. O'Neill, op cit, p142
  94. Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift, 'Living in the global', in Amin and Thrift eds, op cit, p11
  95. ibid, p14
  96. ibid, p15
  97. Amin and Thrift, 'Holding down the global', in ibid, p260
  98. Michael Dunford and Ray Hudson, Successful European Regions: Northern Ireland Learning from Others, Northern Ireland Economic Council, Belfast, 1996, 186-98
  99. ibid, pp xxviii-ix (my emphasis)
  100. Udo Bullman, 'The politics of the third level', Regional and Federal Studies, vol 6, no 2, 1996, p18
  101. Leonardi and Nanetti, op cit, pp 125-6
  102. Hutton, op cit, p20
  103. ibid, p265
  104. Morgan, op cit, p166
  105. Garmise, op cit, p158
  106. Department of Economic Development, Growing Competitively: A Review of Economic Development Policy in Northern Ireland, Belfast, 1995
  107. Henriek Halkier and Mike Danson, Regional Development Agencies in Western Europe: A Survey of Key Characteristics and Trends, occasional paper 15, European Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark, 1996
  108. UNIDO, op cit, p10
  109. Halkier and Danson, op cit
  110. UNIDO, op cit, p11
  111. Halkier and Danson, op cit
  112. ibid
  113. UNIDO, op cit, p8
  114. ibid, pp 13-14
  115. ibid, p14
  116. ibid, p15
  117. ibid, p15
  118. ibid, p17


Commissioned by CBI Northern Ireland March 1998


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