Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions & Industry: The Role of Industrial Density in the Health and Economic consequences of the COVID-19 Crisis
Research Team: Dr. Enrico Vanino (Dept. of Economics – University of Sheffield) and Dr. Carlo Corradini (Dept. of Management – University of Birmingham).
This research project will follow an interdisciplinary perspective to analyse the spatial dynamics between density, the structure of localised economies and the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering novel evidence on the different effects exerted by population density and the agglomeration of economic activities.
Using newly available big data about both day and night-time satellite imaging, together with information of the location of all businesses in the UK, we will be able to capture population and workers mobility across space, and thus to disentangle the effect of industrial agglomerations from residential and commercial density on the health and economic consequences of the pandemic.
This research project is part of a new line of empirical investigation that uses information from unstructured forms of big data to fill the gaps in more conventional datasets. It will provide important insights not just to better understand determinants of diffusion of the virus, but equally to understand which areas could remain more at risk. This is essential to better design future economic policies to prevent further negative economic shocks and lockdown strategies, and to target more precisely the regions and industrial districts more vulnerable from a business as well as a contagion perspective.
We are honoured of the support received by the RSA Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions and Industry. This grant will support our research project, by bringing together expertise on the latest spatial econometric modelling, granular spatial information on industrial and occupational structure in the UK, and the new opportunities offered by big data in the area of satellite imaging. We hope that, thanks to the RSA support, we will be able to provide important insights on the determinants of the diffusion of the virus. This in turn could help policy makers to better design future economic policies to prevent further negative economic shocks, and to target more precisely the regions and industrial districts more vulnerable from a business as well as a contagion perspective.