1975 volume 7(4) pages 393 – 414

Cite as:
Firn J R, 1975, "External control and regional development: the case of Scotland" Environment and Planning A 7(4) 393 – 414

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External control and regional development: the case of Scotland

J R Firn

Received 24 October 1974

Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to examine some recent evidence on the degree and type of external ownership and control that exists in the manufacturing sector of the Scottish economy. Definitions of external control are discussed, and its incidence in Scotland is shown to vary widely between industrial sectors; between different sizes of manufacturing enterprise; between different types of enterprise organisation; and between the different subregions of Scotland. The theoretical and policy implications of the Scottish situation, where nearly 60 per cent of the ownership and control of manufacturing employment lies in other regions of the United Kingdom and overseas, are discussed, and areas for future research outlined. It is argued that this factor is one of vital importance for the understanding of the processes and constraints of regional economic development, and that its neglect has contributed to much of the dissatisfaction expressed about the achievements of postwar British regional development-policy. The paper concludes that the development of a high level of control is not in the long-term economic interests of Scotland.

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