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Regional employment and population change have displayed considerable spatial disparities within Northern Ireland in recent years. It is important to gain a better understanding of the causes of these spatial disparities to facilitate the development of effective policies to promote economic growth within the rural economy. Growth equilibrium models provide a means to examine the multiple, integrated economic, social and geographical factors that contribute to economic growth and analyse their synergistic effect on each other (Adelaja et al., 2009). This modelling framework has been developed to analyse the interaction of economic phenomena occurring in spatial dimensions and account for interdependencies between population and employment change. This study applies the growth equilibrium model framework to analyse the linkages between population and employment patterns and other exogenous determinants of spatial growth within Northern Ireland. The analysis is based on ward level data over the period 2001 to 2007. The analysis suggests that employment and population growth are interdependent. An increase in population has a positive impact on employment, while an increase in employment has a positive impact on population. Moreover, there is evidence that the spatial spillover effects are significant, indicating that changes in employment/population growth in one region has knock-on impacts on neighbouring regions.


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