Culture, Well-Being and Economic Development

The key aim of this research stream is to provide a better understanding of the dual nature of regional and local development, whereby such development is increasingly acknowledged as consisting of economic development and growth as well societal development in the form raised levels of well-being. In particular the work of the Centre seeks to address the suggestion that a missing ingredient in explaining economic development and well-being at the regional and local level is the role of culture, and in particular the extent to which regional and local cultures may differ across nations.

Through a range of projects the Centre’s work has sought to understand how the greater focus on growth and development at the regional and local level is impacting on the way that factors such as 'culture' and 'identity' are conceptualised within the political economy of places. In particular, the Centre has a number of on-going projects that are seeking to assess and analyse the relationship between culture; economic development; and well-being at the regional and local level.

The Centre’s most recent work is focusing on how different forms of regional and local culture are associated with measures of economic development and well-being, and the extent to which deviations in regional/local culture from more aggregated national culture impacts on economic development and well-being trajectories at the regional and local level.

Key research questions we are currently tackling include: how do regional and local differences in culture impact on the economic development and societal well-being of these places? Is regional cultural change leading to a more homogenous or heterogeneous cultural traits within and across nations? Is regional cultural change associated with positive development in the form of improved economic development and/or well-being?

An allied and emerging research theme within the Centre relates to the role of institutions in fostering and promoting regional and local development, as well as a more specific focus on regional and local entrepreneurial cultures.

For information on this research stream please contact Professor Robert Huggins.