April 16, 2024

A Disruption Index - the geography of technological transformations across England

Read a concise Briefing on the DI here which has expanded policy implications.

The Pissarides Review into the Future of Work and Wellbeing aims to deepen our understanding of the extent of technological transformation across the UK and its impact on the world of work and people’s wellbeing. In order to understand how new technologies are changing society, we must first understand when and where the technological transformation is happening. However, the evidence on how technologies are being developed and adopted in and across the country is sparse.

To bridge this gap, we have developed the Disruption Index (DI), a tool designed to measure the capacity of regions to invest in new technologies and the factors that enable firms to adopt and integrate new technologies.

The DI offers a radical reframing of Levelling Up, highlighting the multidimensional approach – from availability of capital to technology dissemination – urgently needed to narrow regional inequalities.’ - Professor Philip McCann, Chair in Regional Economics, Alliance Manchester Business School

The DI offers comprehensive insight into technological transformation at the regional level using two dimensions: the Technological Transformation Index (TTI) and Readiness Index (RI). TTI assesses the level of technological transformation that regions are experiencing, which sheds light on the different capacities of these regions to invest in, adopt, and adapt to new technologies. Measuring this is crucial, as - in the long run - technological transformation and innovation are key drivers of productivity. The RI emphasises the pivotal role of human capital and infrastructure in enabling this transformation.

The DI not only enhances our understanding of technological transformation across various stages of the technology life cycle but is a great foundation for deeper analysis of how regions can harness their unique strengths to tap into their potential for technological transformation and growth, with the aim of promoting good work and worker well-being.

In this report, as we navigate through the main findings from our analysis, we offer insights that help us understand the current UK economic geography and regional inequalities. We identify potential drivers of regional inequalities, how different factors interact and compound each other, and - in the companion Briefing - we propose implications for policy.

A Technical Report outlining the background to the DI and the sources of the indices is here.

Read the full Working PaperRead the full Working Paper


Bertha Rohenkohl, Jonathan Clarke and Christopher Pissarides

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