Poverty and Local Governments: Economic Development and Community Service Provision in an Era of Decentralization
Social scientists have given substantial attention to poverty across U.S. localities. However, most work views localities through the lens of population aggregates, not as units of government. Few poverty researchers question whether governments of poorer localities have the capacity to engage in economic development and service activities that might improve community well-being. This issue is increasingly important as responsibilities for growth and redistribution are decentralized to local governments that vary dramatically in resources. Do poorer communities have less activist local governments? Are they more likely to be engaged in a race to the bottom, focusing on business attraction activities but neglecting services for families and working people? We bring together two distinct literatures, critical research on decentralization and research on local development efforts, that provide contrasting views about the penalty of poverty. Data are from a unique, national survey of county governments measuring activity across two time points. The most consistent determinants of activity are local government capacity, devolutionary pressures, and inertia or past use of strategies. Net of these factors, levels and changes in poverty do not significantly impact government activity. There is no evidence the nations' poorest counties are racing to the bottom. Findings challenge views that poverty is a systematic structural barrier to pursuing innovative economic development policies and suggest that even poorer communities can take steps to build local capacity, resources, and networks that expand programs for local businesses and low-wage people. Copyright (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 40 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0017-4815|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0017-4815|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
- Laura A. Reese, 1994. "The Role of Counties in Local Economic Development," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 8(1), pages 28-42, February.
- Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, June.
- Victoria Basolo & Chihyen Huang, 2001. "Cities and Economic Development: Does the City Limits Story Still Apply?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 15(4), pages 327-339, November.
- Peter S. Fisher & Alan H. Peters, 1998. "Industrial Incentives: Competition among American Cities and States," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ii, June.
- Brenner, Neil, 2004. "New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199270064.
- Daniel Monroe Sullivan, 2002. "Local Governments as Risk Takers and Risk Reducers: An Examination of Business Subsidies and Subsidy Controls," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 16(2), pages 115-126, May.
- Paul Brace, 2002. "MAPPING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN STATES -super-1," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 19(3), pages 161-178, 09.
- Harold Wolman & David Spitzley, 1996. "The Politics of Local Economic Development," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 10(2), pages 115-150, May.
- Bruce Weber & Leif Jensen & Kathleen Miller & Jane Mosley & Monica Fisher, 2005. "A Critical Review of Rural Poverty Literature: Is There Truly a Rural Effect?," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 28(4), pages 381-414, October.
- Gold, Steven D., 1996. "Issues Raised By the New Federalism," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 273-87, June.
- Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 2006. "The Geography of American Poverty: Is There a Need for Place-Based Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number gap, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:40:y:2009:i:3:p:418-451. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.