Economics of devolution/decentralization in the UK: some questions and answers

P.G. McGregor, K. Swales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The paper explores the economic implications of the radical process of devolution, decentralization and delegation of decision-making and policy delivery initiated by the post-1997 UK Labour Government. It is argued that the economies of all the presently devolved regions ultimately suffer if the Barnett Formula is rigorously imposed. It is shown that the efficiency of devolving fiscal authority involves a balance of positive and negative elements (depending on wage bargaining and migration responses). It is then argued that delegation/devolution of regional economic development policies, while exploiting regional information advantages, neglects regional economic interdependence, so there are potential gains from greater cooperation/coordination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-494
Number of pages17
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • economics of devolution
  • decentralization
  • fiscal federalism
  • Barnett Formula
  • Tartan tax
  • regional economic development


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