Economic Development and Inclusive Economies

Economic Development and Inclusive Economies

Focus of our research

Our research is focused on innovative policies, practices and business models that support more inclusive and sustainable real economic development and progress.

Dr David Jarvis, Cluster Co-Lead

The Economic Development and Inclusive Economies (EDIE) cluster is focused on generating new insights to the study of economic development, and economic and social inclusion.

Alongside long-running concerns about ‘who gains from growth’, there is a widespread acknowledgement that future development needs to be more socially and environmentally sustainable. Yet questions remain about the ability to balance economic, social and environmental sustainability – and there has been a proliferation of proposed development models.

The cluster engages in research into the policies, practices and business models that can support more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. Research is organised around four themes. Each theme has important implications for understanding real-world research problems relating to approaches to, and the outcomes of, economic development – including understanding and shaping policies and practices which underpin these.

  • Inclusive economies – new models and approaches to regional development, employment change and working conditions.
  • Low carbon mobility – the transition to low carbon personal mobility and the impacts of future sustainable mobility practices on places and spaces.
  • Community finance – relationships between finance, data and community development.
  • Creative and cultural economies – the role of the creative and cultural industries in economic development.

Core cluster themes

  • Regional development, employment change and working conditions
  • Low carbon personal mobility practices
  • Creative and cultural industries and economic development

Inclusive economies

This cluster focuses on the study of new models and approaches to regional development, employment change and working conditions, and employment and skills policy and practice. Research on employment change and job quality includes cross-national analysis of the growth of the temporary staffing industry, diversity management and social dialogue, urban labour markets, business models and low-pay, and workplace health. New empirical and theoretical insights on employment entry and progression have been generated through the ESRC-funded project Harnessing Growth Sectors for Poverty Reduction. This research has been published in leading journals and has helped inform the design of a new Health and Care Sector Work Academy pilot programme. Research has also critically assessed new approaches to regional development and the focus on ‘inclusive growth’, including the Regional Strategies for Sustainable and Inclusive Territorial Development project (funded by ESPON), and studies of regional innovation systems.

Low carbon mobility

This looks at the development and implications off low carbon mobility for economies. It analyses the consumer/producer policy drivers of change in the transport arena; the transition to low carbon personal mobility and the impacts of future sustainable mobility practices on places and spaces. Work on low carbon mobility has seen innovative funding, partnerships and co-production of research and impact; including collaborations with The Low Carbon Vehicles Partnership (LowCVP), the AA, Horiba-Mira, Coventry City Council, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, the Motorsport Industry Association, Siemens, Silverstone Technology Cluster and UKTI. Research has yielded important new insights into the UK automotive R&D&I landscape and the global motorsport and performance engineering supply chain. The Urban- Rural Connections in Non-Metropolitan Areas project (funded by ESPON) identified new accessibility and mobility solutions for peripheral areas in Europe. Other research has focused on solutions for upgrading regional technology and transport infrastructure to support low carbon and smart cities developments. Research has been published in leading transport and business journals.

Community finance

The community finance team has generated new and significant insights into the relationships between finance, data and community development, focusing on personal lending and SME access to finance. This includes work on understanding the size, dynamics and performance of the social investment market. Research on bank lending and data disclosure examined the Government’s voluntary framework for disclosure of bank lending data. It provided the first analysis of this new data and within the broader landscape of personal and SME lending. The trade and industry body UK Finance adopted recommendations resulting from the significant stakeholder interest in the work. Similarly, this interest also encouraged UK Finance to organise meetings and presentations in HMG Treasury and the Houses of Parliament. Collaborative networks have been critical in driving impact, including working in partnership with key industry bodies, such as Responsible Finance.

Creative and cultural industries in economic development

This theme explores the economic and social impacts of creative and cultural activities and the policies and business which influence these. Research insights provided new evidence to support the recognition of rural touring arts within the new ‘placebased’ 10-year Arts Council England strategy. Work on leadership in the cultural sector is significantly contributing to legacy activities for Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture; other research has informed improved practice for business support in the sector. New understandings of creative freelancer business models are being developed through research funded by AHRC/NESTA. Strong collaborative and practice networks have underpinned the impact and uptake of research recommendations, including the Coventry City of Culture Trust, Create Scotland, National Heritage Lottery Fund and National Rural Touring Forum.

Key researchers

This cluster is led by Dr. David Jarvis, Dr Jason Begley and Professor Andrew Johnston and and benefits from a collegiate group of research staff, associates, PhD candidates and visiting professors.


Dr David Jarvis

David Jarvis is Reader in Local and Regional Economic Development, with research interests in economic development and economic impact, manufacturing sectors, clusters and economies and neighbourhood regeneration, faith and community. David was also the founding Academic Programme Director for the Faculty’s Professional Doctorate (DBA), and sits on the Management Group of the University’s Future Transport and Cities (FTC) Research Centre.

Since completion of his PhD in 2002, David has held a series of full-time professional research posts in both commercial consultancy and higher education settings.

David has secured, managed and delivered more than 70 funded research or evaluation projects for clients across the public, private and charitable sectors. In the course of doing so, he has gained extensive direct experience of utilising both quantitative and qualitative research methods.


Dr Jason Begley

Jason Begley is an Associate Professor in Economic Development with research interests in economic history, national accounting, regional development and economic indicators, low carbon sector and low carbon mobility. Jason is also a Director of the PhD programme within CBiS.

Jason received his doctorate in Economic History from the University of Limerick in 2002 and then undertook a post-doctoral thesis at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where the focus of his work was on creating GDP estimates for Ireland in the 19th century. Following his time at TCD, Jason joined Coventry University focussing on statistical series and economic development.


Professor Andrew Johnston

Andrew Johnston is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with expertise in innovation, SMEs, university technology transfer, knowledge networks and entrepreneurship. He is also Director of Research within The International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship (ICTE) at Coventry University.

Andrew received his doctorate in small firm innovation and regional economic development from the University of Sheffield in 2005. His research focusses on understanding the systemic nature of innovation and entrepreneurship and the spatial dynamics of these processes. He has previously worked at the University of Lincoln, University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Hallam University.


Visiting Professor David Bailey

David Bailey from Aston University, an influential business expert on economic restructuring and industrial policy, is perhaps best known for his knowledge of UK car manufacturing. As an author, regular media commentator and newspaper columnist, he has provided articles and commentary on key economic and regional policy issues.

Most recently, David has undertaken European funded research on using foreign investment to upgrade clusters and on industrial and regional policy and the rise of ‘phoenix’ industries, such as the low carbon vehicles cluster in the West Midlands.


Visiting Professor Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins is a Professor of Business Strategy and Director of Community: Strategy, People and Leadership at Cranfield School of Management.

Mark’s teaching, research and consulting activities focus on the areas of competitive strategy and innovation. He is the author of a number of books on strategic management issues, including Performance at the Limit: Business Lessons from Formula One Motor Racing, Advanced Strategic Management and The Customer Centred Strategy.

Mark is on the editorial boards of Long Range Planning, Organization Studies and the Journal of Management Studies. Mark was a member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) panel for Business and Management.

PhD opportunities

The Economic Development and Inclusive Economies research cluster focuses on policies and practices for growth and development, and the economic and social outcomes which follow from these; with a particular emphasis on  issues of inclusion. We welcome PhD applications which explore a range of topics relating to growth and inclusion. These include city growth, employment policy, social investment and community finance; and the impact of economic development, such as strategies for local and regional economies, including advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurship and business models. 

The cluster also welcomes PhD applications from suitably qualified candidates interested in pursuing historical research in line with our research themes. The expertise of our cluster members covers the following continents: Africa; Australasia; Europe; Latin America; and North America. PhD researchers are a core part of our cluster and benefit from the opportunity to work with scholars at various stages of their career.

Self-funding or corporately sponsored PhD applications are always welcome. Some fees-only bursaries and full studentships might be available on a competitive basis.

For all enquiries in the first instance regarding the Economic Development and Inclusive Economies research cluster, please contact Dr David Jarvis.

Centre for Business in Society

Find out more about the research carried out by the CBiS team.

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