‘Inclusive growth’ and ‘inclusive economies’ 1 -Concepts and Theories

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Organizers: Chris Benner, Andy Pike, Danny Mackinnon
Chairs: Chris Benner


In the wake of the crisis of 2008-09, recession, uneven recovery and the current ‘Great Instability’, social and spatial inequalities have returned to the economic and political agenda internationally. The people and places ‘left behind’ have become central to addressing the rise of economic nationalism and populism, and the legitimation crises convulsing governments across the world. The search has intensified for more ‘inclusive’ forms of economy and growth capable of sharing prosperity more widely in social and spatial terms, and reducing or ameliorating inequalities in economic and social conditions.

Yet such aspirations are bedeviled by fundamental and unresolved issues. Basic understandings, concepts and definitions are unsettled and unclear. Language and terminology are multiple with ‘equitable’, ‘fair’, ‘good’, ‘inclusive’, ‘just’ and ‘pro-poor’ labels being deployed. Theorisation of the causal relationships between more inclusive economies and growth and social and spatial inequalities are work in progress. Some progress has been made on methodologies and research designs, although much remains to be done to develop appropriate and meaningful indicators and measures.

The very aims and purpose of greater economic inclusion are unclear and debated. Is it just a matter of finding ways of connecting more people and places to the current growth model and improving the relative social and spatial distribution of prosperity? Or is a more fundamental rethink of economy needed to render it more social and equitable, participatory, sustainable and stable?

With some notable exceptions, much analysis to date has been focused on the national level, but researchers and practitioners are also increasingly focusing on the sub-national geographies of cities and city-regions. The connections of inclusive economy and growth between conventional notions of local, urban and regional development in the global North and ‘development’ in the global South are beginning to be explored.

Critiques are cross-cutting this discussion too. Some argue that inequalities are a sign of success and necessary incentive for aspiration, innovation, motivation and social mobility. Others suggest such inclusion is insufficiently radical or revolutionary and represents the latest dilution of social justice agendas and a reformist sticking plaster for the enduring problem of social and spatial inequalities in capitalism.

The politics of inclusive growth and economy are in motion, and work is emerging on how these ideas are being constructed, translated, mobilised and rolled-out through policy and practice. ‘More and better jobs’ has become a policy shorthand internationally amongst inter-governmental organisations, national, regional, city and local governments. Broadly, this notion has been based on generating a combination of increased numbers of employment opportunities across age, gender, social and spatial divides with higher ‘quality’ in terms of wages, productivity, progression, terms and conditions. A degree of consensus exists around the view that the socially and spatially unequal and exclusive nature of growth is a drag on productivity and growth, and generates social costs. But less agreement is evident concerning how more socially and spatially equal and inclusive forms of growth can be addressed and delivered in policy terms.

These sessions seek to convene researchers engaged in conceptual, theoretical, empirical and policy work in this area to address these and other issues relating to ‘inclusive growth’ and ‘inclusive economies’ in both the global North and South.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Erica Pani*, Newcastle University, Andy Pike, Newcastle University, Danny MacKinnon, Newcastle University, Inclusive growth: a preliminary critique 20 10:00 AM
Presenter Regina Scheyvens*, Massey University, Glenn Banks, Massey University, The value of inclusive development - not inclusive growth: learning from indigenous businesses on customary land in the Pacific 20 10:20 AM
Presenter Chris Benner*, University of California Santa Cruz, Gabriela Giusta, University of California Santa Cruz, Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California, Gordon McGranahan, Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex, Inclusive Economies: Conceptual, Measurement and Process Issues 20 10:40 AM
Presenter Michael Dunford*, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, A Century of Uneven and Combined Development 20 11:00 AM
Discussant Andy Pike Newcastle University 20 11:20 AM

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