Local government and economic development; a theory of change

How do local governments create change in the local economy? By understanding the theory of change local governments can focus their local economic development interventions. This improves the likelihood of success that will be sustained over time. It is key to understanding local government and economic development better. A theory of change describes how and why…

Creating a virtuous system for local economic growth

Success in local economic development requires an understanding of the local economic system. By creating a virtuous local economic system, we intervene to change different parts of the economy. We work with various local actors to create a virtuous system for local economic growth. This article is a companion to another on a theory of change…

One-stop shops for investment

A one-stop shop for investment can improve opportunities for private sector development, but not necessarily in the way you might imagine. In general, a one-stop shop is a place or agency that offers a range of products or services under one roof. The term relates to how many stops or points of contact customers need…

Local Economic Development

This article introduces the concept of local economic development. It answers the questions: What is local economic development? Why is local economic development relevant today?  While the history of local economic development extends decades, the actions taken by local organisations and institutions have become even more relevant in the face of increasing levels of global…

Business Advocacy

This article examines the role of business advocacy in business environment reform. This is an important element of private sector development. The article answers the questions: What is business advocacy? How can business advocacy be made more effective?  Importantly, business advocacy is not the same as public-private dialogue. Dialogue is a two-way process in which…

Public Private Dialogue

This article examines the role of public-private dialogue in private sector development. It answers the questions: What is public-private dialogue? Why is it important? How can public-private dialogue be improved? What is public-private dialogue? Public-private dialogue (PPD) is the interaction between government and business for business environment reform purposes. It is an essential element to…

Investment Climate Reform

This article introduces the concept of investment climate reform and its role in private sector development. It answers the questions: What is the investment climate? What is investment climate reform?  The investment climate covers a broad range of locational elements influencing the decisions of private investors.  Beyond the firm: framework conditions for business growth Economists…

Small Business Development

This article introduces the concept of small business and the approach to small business development. It answers the questions: Why are small businesses important? How to support small business development? This topic includes micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The article introduces important nuances in our understanding of the role small businesses play in the economy and…

New insights on the informal economy

I recently co-authored a Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) research report (with Will Nielsen) entitled Dealing with Firm Informality. There is a lot of new debate on this topic. For some examples, see this recent World Bank publication on The Long Shadow of Informality: Challenges and Policies, and the International Monetary Fund’s report on The Global…

The SME Test: Assessing the impact of new laws and regulations on SMEs

New laws and regulations quickly accumulate and cause administrative overload for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) because the costs of compliance are often disproportionately higher than for large enterprises. In many countries, the number of laws and regulations adopted each year to which SMEs must comply is increasing dramatically. While this is not a bad…

Addressing informality through local business advocacy

While many business organisations represent formal businesses, it is important for local business advocacy to consider the issues faced in the informal economy. Earlier this year, I was commissioned by the International Labour Office (ILO) in the Asia Pacific Region to write a research report on the impact of government decentralization on the transition to formality.…

Youth Entrepreneurship for the Blue and Green Economies

New opportunities for youth entrepreneurship Young people around the world can play an instrumental role in creating the change required to ignite innovations that lead to sustainable development outcomes. This leads to opportunities for youth entrepreneurship in the blue and green economies. Youth entrepreneurship may contribute to the social, economic, and environmental innovation required to drive…

Are market systems development projects too cool for rules?

This article looks at how market systems development projects can better connect with business environment reforms to improve the ways market work better for the poor. It has been written by Ines Bentchikou from the International Labour Organisation in Geneva and Simon White.  Ines works with The Lab at the ILO, which is a global initiative funded…

Placemaking for local economic development

Placemaking is an important strategy for local economic development Download the PDF Version of this article here. I have a long history of involvement in placemaking, most recently as the former deputy chairperson of Leederville Connect in Western Australia. Of course, and as others have noted, ‘the business and practice of making a successful urban…

Lessons to guide a local economic COVID recovery

In this post I describe a number of lessons we can draw from our COVID-19 response to help guide a local economic recovery. I look at responses that appear have worked and make four suggestions for placed-based responses. We are not past this crisis by any measure. But there are important lessons we can draw to…

Bringing the business environment online

How digitalisation can support business environment reform In this post, I look at how digitalisation can support business environment reform. This includes some useful guidance for policymakers and regulators. The digitalisation of legal and regulatory compliance requirements is a critical strategy for achieving meaningful business environment reforms. In the midst of COVID-19, many businesses have quickly…

Surviving COVID-19: Why place continues to matter

In the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic sweeping the world, place really does matter. This is a post from my recent newsletter on place-based economic development and job creation. Subscribe here. Over the last few weeks I’ve undertaken assignments in Jakarta, Milan and Delhi, with Covid-19 hot on my heels. As a result, I…

Introducing MyPlaceMatters

MyPlaceMatters: A One-Stop Resource for Place-Based Economic Development I am thrilled to announce the launch of a new website. MyPlaceMatters is a resource for anyone working in local and regional areas to develop the economy, create jobs and improve the quality of life. Where we live, work, invest, and grow affects who we are. It…

Supporting city and local government innovation

City and local government authorities can be more innovative in the way they work, share data and stimulate local innovation. Characteristics of innovative local governments While there is no single pathway to success, there are characteristics that high-performing city and local governments share: First, innovative city and local government authorities make sure that very different…

Making places for innovation; lessons from Mexico City

How local governments can support social and innovation through collaboration. While the national buzz around innovation in Australia appears to have somewhat subsided, there is growing evidence of the role local actors can play in stimulating innovation. Local innovation ecosystems nurture private and public innovation. National policy frameworks are important, but state and local initiatives…

Supporting Public-Private Partnerships for Industry Development

Dealing with the practical problems private firms face when nurturing innovative processes; lessons from Rwanda Industry development and commercial innovation are often presented in idealised terms, focusing on shiny new start-ups and ignoring the struggle of existing firms.  It is challenging to understand the practical problems of private firms face and use this information to…

How local government councillors can support economic development

This post explores the ways local government councillors can support economic development. Local governments play an important role in the local economy. While professional staff can guide and advise councils, elected local councillors make the final decisions. My Place Matters (powered by Publicus) has produced a short guide on how local government councillors can support…

Economic Development in Practice: Are you a planner, a gardener or a searcher?

Successful economic development practice comes from adopting the right approach at the right time. It is important to understand the differing roles that practitioners can play when supporting growth and development. Are you are an economic planner, gardener or searcher? Economic development is a complex, multifaceted process. There is no solver bullet. While it is important…

Twitter as a marker of regional economic vitality

New research methods using big data and artificial intelligence present findings that connect economic vitality with ‘regional personalities’. Associate Professor Martin Obschonka from the Queensland University of Technology and Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research along with researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (including Andrés Rodríguez-Pose), the University of Pennsylvania and the…

Australia and the new municipalism

Beset by recent political and economic disruptions, many local governments in Europe and North America are adopting new approaches to governance and economic development. While Australia has a different model to local government, how can movements such as the ‘new municipalism’ and ‘community wealth building’ influence Australian local governments? Australia has famously benefited from almost…

When market solutions are not enough

I recently spent a week in the northwest of Mozambique on an assignment for an international donor agency looking at how agriculture markets can drive economic development. Here are my reflections in Development Policy. There are many instances when market solutions are not enough to achieve private sector development. While market systems development shows us the…

Does increasing urban density lead to economic growth?

Many cities across Australia are planning for increased urban density. This, we are told, will make infrastructure more feasible and improve the quality of life our urban centres have to offer. But will it? Does an increase in urban density lead to economic growth? More people are living in cities than ever before Around the…

The Local Business Environment and Decentralised Cooperation

PLATFORMA, the pan-European coalition of local and regional governments engaged in international cooperation for sustainable development, has just published my report on the Local business Environment and Decentralised Cooperation. This report shows how improving the local business requires capacity development for local governments and decentralisation reforms. Through decentralised cooperation, local and regional governments can lead reforms that…

Policy preferences for small businesses

Many governments around the world assign policy preferences for small businesses. These policy preferences support business development and job creation. There are two rationales for this. First, micro and small enterprises deserve special attention because of their overall contribution to national development. As a total sector, micro and small enterprises are major contributors to employment in almost…

New video: business environment reform

I am pleased to be able to share this video I worked on for the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS_fgLT-Mh0 I have been working with the DCED for a number of years and, in particular, providing support to its Business Environment Working Group. The DCED has some great resources available on business environment…