London School of Economics, UK
Project title: Evaluating Tech City: Identifying effects on firm entry, employment and rents using difference in difference analysis
The project aims to evaluate the economic impacts (if any) of the Government’s flagship Tech City cluster programme in East London between 2010 and 2014/15. To do this I will use difference in differences analysis on a unique dataset combining high quality administrative data, big data and commercial rents data. This project would be the first evaluation of the causal impact of Tech City. This is hugely important in the current UK context given the major public and policy interest in a) the London tech scene b) the UK’s digital economy more broadly, and c) the salience of the local growth and industrial strategy agendas. Understanding the effects of cluster programmes is also important and timely given renewed international academic and policy interest in industrial policy, both in the UK, the EU and US, as well as further afield. The academic consensus is that cluster interventions have a poor track record. However, Tech City set out to be a light touch programme that ‘goes with the grain’ of the existing ecosystem. I will test if that approach has delivered.