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Professor Piers Thompson Inaugural Lecture

The Prospects for Levelling Up: Regional Influences from Culture and Personality

Piers Thompson staff profile
Networking | Public lectures

This lecture considers the research that has examined the influence of culture and personality at the local or regional level on development, as these are likely to be associated with social and institutional capital. These softer factors are found to be highly persistent and unevenly spread geographically in countries such as the UK. It considers whether those areas being targeted for levelling up are also those with combinations of culture and personality that may limit the social and institutional capital available. It is shown that the investments being suggested as part of levelling up could even have a negative effect on some of those it seeks to support.

  • From: Monday 13 February 2023, 5.30 pm
  • To: Monday 13 February 2023, 7.30 pm
  • Registration: 5.30 pm
  • Location: Lecture Theatre 5, Newton building, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU
  • Booking deadline: Monday 6 February 2023, 12.00 am
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Event details

The UK Government has reiterated its intentions to level up the UK. Although large amounts of public money have been earmarked for these activities, at this point it is less clear how successful the proposed investments will be in achieving these aims. This is particularly the case given the outcomes of previous interventions. The Levelling Up White Paper highlights six factors that are likely to drive levelling up, physical capital, human capital, intangible capital, financial capital, social capital and institutional capital.

Piers Thompson is Professor of Local and Regional Economic Development. He joined Nottingham Trent University in 2012 as a member of the Economics Department. Prior to this he worked at Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of Glamorgan. While working at the University of Glamorgan he was a research assistant on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) project, the largest study comparing entrepreneurial activity across the world.

His work focuses on the impact of softer factors, such as culture and personality, on patterns of regional development and activities seen to drive this development such as entrepreneurship. He has published over 50 peer reviewed journal articles on these topics including in journals such as: Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A, Journal of Economic Geography, Regional Studies, and Small Business Economics. He has also published an edited book and two monographs, the latest of which is A Behavioural Theory of Economic Development published by Oxford University Press. He is one of the authors of the UK Competitiveness Index (UKCI) report that has been widely used by a variety of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships within their economic strategy documents. His work has been funded by the ESRC and the Welsh Government.


5.30 pm

Registration and welcome refreshments

6 pm

Welcome talk

6.05 pm

Lecture begins

6.50 pm

Close and thanks by Executive Dean

7 pm

Drinks reception

7.30 pm


Location details


Newton building
Goldsmith Street


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Past event

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