Economic Development Programs for Cities, Counties, and Towns

By John M. Levy | Go to book overview

Appendix. Economics for the Economic Developer

It is not necessary to be an economist to be a successful economic developer. Political acumen, ability to communicate with others -- particularly bankers, businessmen, and politicians -- a knowledge of finance, and a certain personal talent for seeing that one's own light is not hidden under bushel baskets are all more important for success in the field than is formal knowledge of economic theory. Nonetheless, some rudimentary economic concepts are useful, both in formulating the broad program outline and in explaining the program to citizens, businessmen, politicians, and others.

When questions of subsidization arise, it is useful to have a picture of the local economy in mind so that one can think effectively about whether it is worthwhile to expend public funds on the project. If subsidy funds are limited and one must choose between projects, it is important to have some concept of the functioning of the local economy so that one can make an informed choice.

Though what follows is taken from the field of urban economics, it is just as relevant to a small town as to a major metropolitan area. It is simple and inelegant but -- this writer believes -- useful and reasonably accurate. The picture of the local economy provided is the so-called export-base model. 1 A simple export-base model can be constructed from standard data sources in a few days. But even without building the model and doing any computations, the simple underlying concept of the model can be very useful in thinking about the local economy and about how events may affect it.

In looking at the economy of a place, whether small town, suburb, city, state, or region, one might begin by asking a simple question: From where does the money come? If we consider a city, we recognize immediately that

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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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