Where Model Meets RealityA Mixed Methods Analysis of Economic Development in North West Wales

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date29 Nov 2012
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This is a PhD thesis entitled Where Model Meets Reality: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Economic Development in North West Wales. The thesis is above all an attempt to reconcile the latest in quantitative regional economics and theoretical geographical economics with qualitative methods of regional studies and economic geography. The research seeks a triangulation whereby the merits of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies can be appreciated within both theoretical and empirical contexts, without claims of the superiority of one approach being made. This is an ambitious objective and means that the research must be divided into two streams, one exploring each methodology and advancing research in those fields. Further, each methodology must be applied to the same area of study so that the results produced can be evaluated and compared.
The thesis thus has three self-contained objectives that are part of this overarching aim. The first aim is to advance the scenario analysis methodology of considering the future to regional economic planning, and more generally to test the reliability and resilience of qualitative data in a rapidly changing economy. The second is to advance geographical economics (Krugman, 1991) in its discussion of the public sector as provider of public services and jobs, and to advance policy recommendations from the theory. The third aim is to use the geographical economic policy discussion and the scenario analysis to build a resilient economic policy for North West Wales from 2009, with resilient policy defined as a set of policies that can be applied in any foreseeable circumstance, so that policymakers can move seamlessly between individual policies within the policy framework depending on events. This is done through the application of these methodologies to North West Wales and identifying the commonalities and differences of the outcomes.