Research Briefing | Dec 8, 2021

Rural economies: new digital technologies will not offset remoteness

Global Cities Outlook | The rise of urban economic powerhouses

The pandemic has created a rise in working from home, and the new technologies may similarly make it easier for some rural businesses to compete with urban rivals. But we doubt that they will produce a major relocation of activity. The advantages of urban economies, plus employers’ scepticism about remote working, imply that changes will be incremental.

What you will learn:

  • What is very striking is that in England, it is only urban areas with large cities that clearly out-perform rural areas
  • Crucially, productivity tends to be much lower in rural than urban areas, with higher value-added service activities concentrated in cities.
  • Improved digital technology may partly help levelling the playing field, but most employers are sceptical about adopting long-distance remote working.
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