Economic Development Programs for Cities, Counties, and Towns

By John M. Levy | Go to book overview

13
Local Economic Development in the National Picture

For the local economic developer the important question is how to play the game effectively under the existing rules. How the rules came to be the way they are and whether they make sense in terms of national objectives may be quite unimportant. For the reader whose interest is solely "practical," this chapter may readily be omitted. For the scholar and the student, however, the "big picture" discussed in this chapter should be of some interest.


A SHORT HISTORY OF LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Local economic development efforts are almost as old as the United States. In the early nineteenth century the merchants of many cities and towns organized to promote local economic growth. Such growth, then as now, was good for business and for property values. Modern goals such as relief of structural unemployment were absent. In fact, the concept that there was such a thing as an "unemployment rate," and that government ought to measure it, was absent. In the early nineteenth century, transport costs were a large multiple of what they are today. Thus the most effective step most municipalities could take to strengthen their competitive positions was to improve their access to the rest of the world. The great era of canal building in the United States, roughly 1800 to 1840, was largely the result of intermunicipal competition. The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, was planned and funded by New York merchants who correctly realized that water access to the Midwest would give the city an enormous advantage over its rivals, notably Boston and Philadelphia. Within a few years of its completion the canal was carrying close to a million tons of freight a year

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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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