The research of this cluster focuses on a range of issues including:
The Geographies of Globalisation and Development cluster focuses on the economic growth of China and India. We have also invested in research delineating change in the sub-Saharan African political economies. Future strategic research directions for the cluster include the socio-economic implications of China’s investments in Europe (through consolidation around a new post). By establishing a new Africa Research Centre we have paid greater attention to the role of sub-Saharan Africa within a re-aligning global political economy, with projects enabled by two new Chairs and two lectureships. Much of the work on China is undertaken as part of a high-level EU–China regional policy dialogue, collaboration with the Chinese State Council on post-disaster reconstruction, and a new national 10-year programme to alleviate poverty and foster development (see impact case study). The implications of China’s outward-looking involvement in global financial networks are highlighted through emerging research on the ways in which Sovereign Wealth Funds are reshaping the economies of Western Europe. India has been the focus of an ESRC–DfID-funded project on regional and social inequality during rapid industrialisation. The cluster’s African research has enhanced understanding of the dynamics of power-sharing, trajectories of urban political violence, the impact of population displacements in and beyond the region, and recent trends towards return, with users including the FCO, NGOs, and CBOs. The cluster is also the home of the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED), the most comprehensive public collection of political-violence data for developing states. In contrast to the widespread view that conflict is confined to a few crisis-prone states, ACLED evidence suggests that almost all African states are sites of substantial political insecurity. Civil war accounts for less than half of all political violence across African states; the remaining conflict is composed of communal and political-militia violence, rioting, protests, and violence against non-combatants outside of a war context. These forms of ‘invisible’ violence often involve state collusion and present a widespread risk to civilians. Our future priority is to extend our analysis beyond Africa, potentially with further appointments.
It includes collaborative work with researchers across Sussex, including the Institute of Development Studies Globalization and Climate Change Groups, the Sussex Energy Group in SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), the Sussex European Institute, the Centre for Global Political Economy, the Sussex Climate Change Network and Tyndall Sussex. It also involves collaborative relationships with researchers in the Global South, including China, India and Kenya. Research in this cluster has also informed policy thinking via work for a range of governmental and inter-governmental organisations, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), OECD Environment Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat, African Development Bank, UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Other recent activities include the holding at Sussex of the 2007 RGS-IBG Economic Geography Research Group Annual Symposium and the running in 2007 of a seminar series on the implications of the emergence of China.
Associated Geography faculty include:
Mick Dunford: Comparative regional and urban economic performance; inequality and social cohesion in Europe and China; theories of regulation
David Ockwell: Transitions to a low carbon economy, including low carbon technology transfer to developing countries, public engagement with climate change and democratically legitimate energy policy appraisal.
Brief descriptions of key initiatives under this research cluster and links to further project information are provided below.
Current research on regional inequality and regional economic performance (Mick Dunford) has concentrated on Europe and China. A new ESRC-funded project Economic inter-dependence and comparative regional dynamics in developed and developing economies: trade and regional trajectories in China and the European Union conducted in co-operation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, University of Nottingham and National University of Singapore. The project has involved research in China, Italy, Germany, Romania and the UK on the impacts of European-Chinese relations on industrial, regional and urban development.
Other regional development research has been conducted as part of a high-level China-EU policy dialogue on structural and cohesion policies and in relation to reconstruction and regional economic development in Wenchuan, Yu Shu the Wuling Mountain Area..
Earlier work on regional inequality was mainly confined to Europe (including an ESRC funded project with the universities of Durham and Hertfordshire) on Regional economic performance, governance and cohesion in an enlarged Europe that was graded as outstanding by the ESRC and generated a number of valuable datasets. Most recent research activity has concentrated on the Three Italies and on the comparative performance of continental, Nordic, Mediterranean, east European and 'neo-American' economies. This research is underpinned by an interest in the relationships between globalization, integration, transition, convergence, inequality and social cohesion (including analyses of the structural and cohesion policies of the EU). Theoretically it draws upon theories of regulation in which the group has a strong interest. Current plans centre on an extension of this research to a comparative study of the EU and China (Mick Dunford and Adam Swain at the University of Nottingham).
The new research project on the regional impacts of trade in China and Europe will develop further this value chain research with studies in particular of renewable energy industries in China, South Korea and a number of EU Member States.
Much of this research concentrates upon Chinese economic reform and in particular on the impact of WTO accession and international standards on manufacturing performance and state-owned enterprises in China.
Current developments include an extension of recent regional development research to an EU-China comparison and a regrounding of regional growth trajectories and their drivers in a regulation-theoretic approach. A number of related projects will compare Franco-British regional evolutions, and will deal theoretically and empirically with spatial inequality and development.
Dunford participated in three successive EU-China High level seminars and in a policy dialogue between the EU and the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission with responsibility for research on regional classification and regional finance He also participated in an Economic Reconstruction Project involving GIZ and the Chinese State Council Leading Group on Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP) dealing successively with economic reconstruction after the Wenchuan earthquake, economic reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake in the Tibetan autonomous Prefecture of Yu Shu and work in the Wuling Mountain area designed to develop a new 2011-20 poverty alleviation strategy for 14 contiguous spatially concentrated large area with special difficulties ( 集中连片特殊类型贫困地区图: ji zhong lian pian te shu lei xing pin kun di qu also called ji zhong lian pian te shu kun nan di qu).
The impact of China and India on the global economy is also being investigated by the Asian Drivers research initiative at IDS (John Humphrey). New work on value chains and standards is also being developed with a specific focus on the fast-growing Asian economies and their impact on development options in South and East Asia, Africa and Latin America. This initiative will link together work on industrial clusters, value chains, standards and regional trade agreements.
The global value chains where there are close relationships with the research of the Institute of Development Studies Globalization Group. This research (John Humphrey and Hubert Schmitz of IDS and Mick Dunford) includes the development of theoretical frameworks for global value-chain analysis, analyses of the role of value chain governance in shaping the upgrading strategies for clusters, and research on sectors that include food retailing, the automotive industry, the steel sector and the textile and clothing industries. In the last two years attention has also focused on renewable energy industries (solar and wind energy) in Europe and China.
Research in this area (David Ockwell) focuses on the uptake of low carbon technologies in developing countries as part of broader processes of low carbon innovation and pro-poor development pathways. It draws on insights from innovation studies and, more recently, socio-technical transitions and pathways thinking (the latter via engagement with the ESRC funded STEPS Centre). The research is pursued in partnership with researchers in the Sussex Energy Group (including Jim Watson and Rob Byrne) and engages more broadly with the work of others in SPRU and IDS on innovation, development and sustainability, including Martin Bell, Mariana Mazzucato, Andy Stirling and Melissa Leach.
Current and past research projects include:
- Pro-poor, low carbon development: Improving low carbon energy access and development benefits in Least Developed Countries (LDC) (2012-2014, funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)). This project is a collaboration with the STEPS Centre and the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) in Kenya.
- UK-India collaborative study on low carbon technology transfer (2006-2008, funded by the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change and the ESRC). This project was a collaboration with the Sussex Energy Group, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, India) and IDS (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK).