Economic Development Programs for Cities, Counties, and Towns

By John M. Levy | Go to book overview

5
The Role of the States

Since the first edition of this work was written at the beginning of the 1980s, the role of the states in local economic development has greatly increased. Because the states are now bigger players of the game than formerly, it is all the more important that the economic developer be thoroughly conversant with his or her state's programs.

Several reasons are generally cited for the growing state role. One is the cutback in federal aid to the states under the Reagan administration's "new federalism." This forced the states to do more on their own. In this sense, the states' growing activism in economic development is part of a larger pattern of increased scope and competence of state government. Another reason for the increased state presence is the greater role of world trade in the U.S. economy and, specifically, the penetration of U.S. markets by overseas producers. Most city, town, or county agencies are not big enough to do many of the things that are required to compete in a world of large, distant rivals. Still another reason for increased state activism is regional economic change. In the east and north central regions, job losses in manufacturing, particularly those associated with steel and autos, made it apparent that some sort of larger-scale strategy was necessary. In its absence economic development efforts would simply consist of increasingly sharp competition over slices of a steadily shrinking pie. Finally, there is an emulation effect. The fact that one state starts what appears to be an enlightened, progressive program pushes other states to follow it. The Massachusetts venture capital program, begun in the late 1970s, naturally encouraged other states to offer similar programs. Apart from the fact that it seemed like a good idea, no politician likes to be asked, "How come they are doing such and such and we aren't?"

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Economic Development Programs for Cities, Counties, and Towns
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Political Context of Economic Development 11
  • 3 - Organization and Personnel 19
  • 4 - Recent Economic Changes 25
  • 5 - The Role of the States 39
  • 6 - What Does and Does Not Work 47
  • Notes 61
  • 7 - Reasonable Expectations 63
  • 8 - Public Relations, Advertising, and Marketing 67
  • 9 - Assessing Economic Development Potential 83
  • 10 - Development Planning 103
  • 11 - Development Financing 117
  • 12 - Labor Market and Fiscal Impacts 131
  • 13 - Local Economic Development in the National Picture 151
  • Appendix. Economics for the Economic Developer 165
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 171
  • About the Author 175
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