A Brief on When and How Rural Economic Development Should be Done
Reports of worrisome economic trends and deficiencies in rural areas typically spawn pronouncements on the need for rural economic development. Such reports often highlight: declining employment in primary economic sectors, high unemployment, a lack of jobs for young workers and a consequent aging of the population, overall population loss, closures of local businesses, declining per capita incomes relative to urban areas, inadequate education and healthcare, and high rates of poverty. What are seldom subsequently addressed, however, are issues of whether these can and should be remedied, and whether the state should play a role. In the following, I discuss these issues and recommend courses of action. The discussion and recommendations are based on what we know from academic research on rural areas (and regions more generally), including research I have done with long-time collaborator Mark Partridge. I first address the issue of whether a case can be made for state involvement in rural economic development efforts. This is followed by discussion of how to decide which areas to develop. I conclude by offering a few broad guidelines for state rural economic development strategies.
References listed on IDEAS
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- Partridge, Mark D. & Rickman, Dan S., 2003. "The waxing and waning of regional economies: the chicken-egg question of jobs versus people," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 76-97, January.
- Partridge, Mark D. & Rickman, Dan S., 2003. "Do We Know Economic Development When We See It?," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 33(1), pages 17-39.
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