Regional Growth Dynamics in the Service Sector: The Determinants of Employment Change in UK Regions, 1971–2005

Andrew Johnston, Robert Huggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


There is a need to better understand the dynamics relating to the evolving economic structure of regions, in particular factors concerning deindustrialisation and the growth of services. In order to unpick the dynamics relating to contemporary regional evolution, this paper examines regional employment in the UK's services sectors from 1971 to 2005. The analysis utilises the statistical technique of multi-factor partitioning to examine the evolutionary dynamics of employment change in the UK service sector. Overall, differing growth trajectories in services employment across regions appear to be the result of the different underlying industrial structures observed within the regions themselves. The findings indicate that the industrial structure of a region has a significant influence on employment change in services, with related variety being of greater consequence than specialisation. This suggests that diversity, or urbanisation, effects have a greater influence than specialisation effects on “lighter” industries than “heavier” industries. Spatio-temporal variations within the development of services are evident in the analysis, and there is evidence of convergence across the regions for all sub-sectors examined. It concludes that in an increasingly services-dominated economy, diversity and related variety have some weight in explaining regional development paths.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-96
Number of pages26
JournalGrowth and Change
Issue number1
Early online date10 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


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