Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Contemporary Social Science

For a Special Issue on

Levelling up Revisited

Manuscript deadline
31 July 2024

Cover image - Contemporary Social Science

Special Issue Editor(s)

David Bailey, University of Birmingham
[email protected]

Felicia Fai, University of Bath
[email protected]

Phil Tomlinson, University of Bath
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Levelling up Revisited

The UK has the widest regional inequalities among the advanced industrial economies. These regional inequalities are not new, but the persistence of the so-called North-South divide has become more prominent in the public eye. The post-Brexit landscape was aligned with the political rhetoric of ‘levelling up’, although this was only vaguely defined.

While related to tackling regional inequalities, there has been much ambiguity around the various dimensions of ‘levelling up’, and the scale of its ambition. Moreover, the 2022 UK government White Paper provided little indication of which alternative paths (weaker) regions should take to address the country’s long-standing inequalities. Indeed, the approach seems to implicitly accept the status quo, especially given that the minutiae detail of achieving ‘levelling up’ and recognition of interregional dynamics was largely missing.

‘Levelling up’ clearly invokes huge challenges, not least because the UK’s regional inequalities are not only wide, but longstanding. Contemporary Social Science (CSS) recently explored critical issues around levelling up in a double issue (volume 18 issues 3 and 4)[1] featuring many high profile contributors and which has been extensively downloaded.[2]

Given the ongoing and wide interest in levelling up, especially in the context of an imminent General Election, we are revisiting the theme in a further CSS special issue. This aims to highlight key challenges and potential new policy directions. While the focus of the SI is on UK regional disparities and the ‘levelling up’ agenda, submissions can draw upon and showcase international cases from which lessons for regional policy can be drawn.

We encourage the submission of original articles, both theoretical and empirical, and from single disciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the following but not exhaustive topics:

  • Where next for levelling up policies under a future new government?
  • Net Zero and Levelling Up
  • Levelling Up and Industrial Strategy
  • Place, Place Leadership and Levelling up
  • The scale & scope of regional inequalities (e.g., income, health, education) and how they can/should inform any ‘levelling up’ agenda
  • The economics of ‘levelling up’ (and/or ‘levelling down’) and the implications for different regions and their growth paths
  • The politics of ‘levelling up’ and/or ‘levelling down’
  • Policies to reduce regional inequalities (including place-based policies)
  • Role and Capacity of local and regional actors (local authorities/ LEPs / Combined Authorities, devolved governments, universities, catapults etc and business) to implement and deliver on ‘levelling up’ initiatives
  • Funding for ‘levelling up’ initiatives (funding pots/fiscal transfers/local revenue streams)
  • Devolution and the ‘levelling up’ agenda
  • Governance and ‘levelling up’
  • Evaluating ‘levelling up’ initiatives
  • UK and International case studies highlighting where/how policymakers have attempted to reduce regional inequalities (and the effectiveness of interventions)

[1] See:

[2] See:


Submission Instructions

Authors should indicate that they wish the manuscript to be reviewed for inclusion in the special issue. The Editors of this issue would be happy to review plans for papers in advance of their receipt. All papers will be peer reviewed.

Manuscripts should follow the journal instructions for online submission of papers. For any queries please contact the Editors.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article