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Towards a Rural Development Policy: Lessons from the United States and Canada

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  • Partridge, Mark D.
  • Olfert, M. Rose
  • Ali, Kamar

Abstract

Despite the large sums of money spent to ostensibly support rural areas since the 1930s, a framework for assessing U.S. and Canadian rural policy is conspicuously absent, and thus there is little basis for assessing effectiveness of public policy and public expenditures in this area. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework based on: 1) broad-based policy ob-jectives; 2) a small number of measurable targets that reflect these objectives; and 3) evaluation based on the latest methodological and data advances. We provide an overview of policies and programs in the U.S. and Canada that have been described as rural policy. Using basic descriptive evidence we show that to date the purported rural policy in both countries has generally failed to meet any broad-based objectives. We suggest that successful rural policy is primarily place-based, rather than being captured by tangential objectives such as support for particular sectors or initiatives such as environmental protection. We conclude by noting that government ministries that administer place-based (rural) policy should not have a sector-based orientation—rural policy should be removed from USDA and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Partridge, Mark D. & Olfert, M. Rose & Ali, Kamar, 2009. "Towards a Rural Development Policy: Lessons from the United States and Canada," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 39(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jrapmc:132430
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maureen Kilkenny & Mark D. Partridge, 2009. "Export Sectors and Rural Development," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(4), pages 910-929.
    2. Stephan J. Goetz & David L. Debertin, 1996. "Rural Population Decline in the 1980s: Impacts of Farm Structure and Federal Farm Programs," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 517-529.
    3. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman & Kamar Ali & M. Rose Olfert, 2008. "The Geographic Diversity of U.S. Nonmetropolitan Growth Dynamics: A Geographically Weighted Regression Approach," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(2), pages 241-266.
    4. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    5. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman & Kamar Ali & M. Rose Olfert, 2008. "Lost in space: population growth in the American hinterlands and small cities," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(6), pages 727-757, November.
    6. David Freshwater, 1997. "Farm Production Policy Versus Rural Life Policy," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1515-1524.
    7. Kelly D. Edmiston, 2004. "The Net Effects of Large Plant Locations and Expansions on County Employment," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 289-320.
    8. Mark Partridge & Ray D. Bollman & M. Rose Olfert & Alessandro Alasia, 2007. "Riding the Wave of Urban Growth in the Countryside: Spread, Backwash, or Stagnation?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(2), pages 128-152.
    9. Partridge, Mark D. & Rickman, Dan S. & Ali, Kamar & Olfert, M. Rose, 2009. "Agglomeration spillovers and wage and housing cost gradients across the urban hierarchy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 126-140, June.
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    11. Georgeanne M. Artz & Peter F. Orazem & Daniel M. Otto, 2007. "Measuring the Impact of Meat Packing and Processing Facilities in Nonmetropolitan Counties: A Difference-in-Differences Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(3), pages 557-570.
    12. Elena G. Irwin & Kathleen P. Bell & Nancy E. Bockstael & David A. Newburn & Mark D. Partridge & JunJie Wu, 2009. "The Economics of Urban-Rural Space," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 435-459, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joanna P. Ganning & Kathy Baylis & Bumsoo Lee, 2013. "Spread And Backwash Effects For Nonmetropolitan Communities In The U.S," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 464-480, August.
    2. Gordon F Mulligan & Alex C Vias, 2011. "Place-Specific Economic Base Multipliers," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 38(6), pages 995-1011, December.

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    Keywords

    Community/Rural/Urban Development;

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