Case Study Seven

Engaging with local policy makers, businesses, voluntary sectors and community groups to establish how sub-national institutions can increase engagement with their population.

Dr Martin Quinn has been researching local and regional economic development for more than a decade. His previous work on the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) has been published in journals such as Local Economy and Regional Studies Regional Science. This has particularly focused on regional identity, place leadership and the nature of public private partnerships. Previous collaborations include working with EMDA to produce their first Regional Economic Strategy document.

The Regional Studies Association are currently funding Dr Quinn to examine public and private sector engagement with local government and governance institutions in Leicester and Leicestershire. As a part of the research he will engage with local policy makers (City, County and District Authorities, LEP and Mayors Office) as well as members of the business and voluntary sector and community groups.

This research will establish what sub-national institutions have to be/do/represent in order to establish a social contract with the local population and economy. It will do this by using a case study of the Leicestershire region and analysing data through the lens of Social Contract Theory (principally through the work of Rousseau, Hobbes and Locke).

This research is setting new boundaries as it is one of the first to use Social Contract Theory to analyse regional studies data. This will develop our empirical understanding of how sub-national governance can engage with the local population and business community in these ways to form the networks that drive local economies. The use of Social Contract Theory allows for new theoretical insights which will extend regional studies theories relating to network building, trust and regional leadership. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau argued that it is only when it is clear to the population that a government or institution can provide them with protection and prosperity that they will submit to their authority. The outcomes of this research will establish what sub-national institutions need to be able to offer to their populations in order to increase engagement, with findings of interest to other regions.

For further information please contact Dr Martin Quinn

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