The thesis examines the significance for economic development in Devon and Cornwall of the material and business service linkages of manufacturing establishments. Industrial linkages can play a key role in promoting regional growth, whilst the nature of the relationship between linkages and economic growth is further understood by focusing attention at establishment level. Thus, using data drawn from a survey of 366 manufacturing plants in Devon and Cornwall, the thesis considers the extent to which differing types of establishment possess local suppliers and markets. The primary focus is the importance of key variables as an indicator for variations in linkage patterns- It is found that loca1 linkage is primarily a reflection of variations in ownership status, firm size, the degree of managerial autonomy in decision making, the nature of the product and the perception of the external environment by chief decision makers. Those plants where local linkage is most marked are the independent firms, relatively small plants and ones with decision making freedom at the local level. A move to self sustaining economic growth requires, therefore, a policy designed to mobilise the indigenous potential of the local area via encouraging growth in small and independent firms, where linkage potential is highest. This will result in more major corporate decisions being taken locally and will yield the benefit of technical advance, new firm formation and employment growth in the long period.

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