Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach

By Peter V. Schaeffer; Scott Loveridge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17
Introduction: Attracting Large-Scale Industry
Peter V. SchaefferIndustrial attraction is the form of economic development that receives the most attention in the popular press. When a new firm enters a community, the addition to the number of jobs is evident in a way rarely experienced when existing firms expand by adding a few jobs. Maybe it is because the results are so visible that industrial attraction seems to enjoy strong public support. It is both the most widely used and the most controversial economic development tool ( Bartik 1991; Loveridge 1996).The case studies in this section illustrate both the promise and problems associated with industrial attraction. Some of the cases reflect support for the strategy, while others are skeptical about its results. To some extent, the outcomes associated with industrial attraction depend on the approach used. We distinguish between three different approaches to industrial recruitment (for a different classification, see Isserman 1994) 1.
1. Setf-improvement. Examples of this strategy include infrastructure investments ("build it and they will come"), site preparation, and labor force training.
2. Industrial recruitment. Self-improvement is a passive approach that relies on firms to make a choice. Industrial recruitment includes the pursuit of firms, often with the promise of financial incentives if they locate in the community.
3. Creating a favorable business climate. This approach is more effective when used by state rather than local governments. State governments can

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