There are considerable external economies of scale for businesses locating in London. There is a pool of trained labour and complementary companies providing inputs and services are located in close proximity. Firms create positive externalities to the benefit of other firms in the same industry or allied industries.
London is a magnet for entrepreneurs and highly qualified people. Innovative ideas and business opportunities flow from both business dealings and social interactions. As Boris Johnson says in the podcast, “It’s like a cyclotron on bright people… People who meet each other and spark off each other, and that’s when you get the explosion of innovation.”
Then there is a regional multiplier effect. As the London economy grows, so people move to London, thereby increasing consumption and stimulating further production and further employment. Firms may choose to relocate to London to take advantage of its buoyant economy. There is also an accelerator effect as a booming London encourages increased investment in the capital, further stimulating economic growth.
But the movement of labour and capital to London can dampen recovery in other parts of the economy and create a growing divide between London and other parts of the UK, such as the north of England.
The podcast examines ‘agglomeration‘ in London and how company success breeds success of other companies. It also looks at some of the downsides.
Boris Johnson: London is cyclotron on bright people BBC Today Programme, Evan Davis (3/3/14)
London will always win over the rest of the UK The Telegraph, Alwyn Turner (2/3/14)
Evan Davis’s Mind The Gap – the view from Manchester The Guardian, Helen Pidd (4/3/14)
London incubating a new economy London Evening Standard, Phil Cooper (Founder of Kippsy.com) (10/2/14)
Reports and data
London Analysis, Small and Large Firms in London, 2001 to 2012 ONS (8/8/13)
Regional Labour Market Statistics, February 2014 ONS (19/2/14)
London Indicators from Labour Market Statistics (11 Excel worksheets) ONS (19/2/14)
Annual Business Survey, 2011 Regional Results ONS (25/7/13)
Economies of agglomeration Wikipedia
- Distinguish between internal and external economies of scale.
- Why is London such an attractive location for companies?
- Are there any external diseconomies of scale from locating in London?
- In what ways does the expansion of London (a) help and (b) hinder growth in the rest of the UK?
- Examine the labour statistics (in the links above) for London and the rest of the UK and describe and explain the differences.