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The Role of Partnerships in Economic Development and Labor Markets in the United States




This paper describes the role of local partnerships in the delivery of workforce and economic development services in the United States. Partnerships include both public and private organizations and increasingly depend upon local business people for leadership. With grassroots organizations traditionally taking the lead in addressing local issues and a long history of decentralized government, it is not surprising that a labyrinth of partnerships characterize the provision of public services. This paper grew out of a study tour that the Upjohn Institute conducted in conjunction with the Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED) Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Delegates from 16 European countries visited nearly two dozen partnership organizations in the U.S. Midwest. The paper summarizes the history of local partnerships in the United States, tracks the separate evolution of workforce and economic development activities, describes the leadership roles of the federal and state governments in fostering partnerships, and provides case studies of current public-private partnerships that the delegates visited on the tour. The paper concludes by drawing lessons learned from the tour regarding the efficiency of partnerships, the efficiency of service delivery, the local management of programs, and the proper roles of federal, state, and local governments. A version of the paper appears in an OECD volume on partnerships entitled Local Partnerships for Better Governance, prepared by Sylvain Giguere

Suggested Citation

  • Randall W. Eberts & George A. Erickcek, 2002. "The Role of Partnerships in Economic Development and Labor Markets in the United States," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 02-75, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:02-75

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher J. O'Leary & Robert A. Straits, 2004. "Intergovernmental Relations in Employment Policy: The United States Experience," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers,in: Alain Noel (ed.), Federalism and Labour market Policy: Comparing Different Governance and Employment Strategies, pages 25-82 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. Timothy J. Bartik, "undated". "What Should the Federal Government Be Doing About Urban Economic Development?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1994c, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    3. Michael E. Porter, 2000. "Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 14(1), pages 15-34, February.
    4. Edward W. Hill, 1998. "Principles for Rethinking the Federal Government's Role in Economic Development," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 12(4), pages 299-312, November.
    5. Ronald S. Jarmin, 1999. "Evaluating the impact of manufacturing extension on productivity growth," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 99-119.
    6. Dick Thornburgh, 1998. "A Path to Smarter Federal Leadership in Economic Development: Learning, Leveraging, and Linking," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 12(4), pages 291-298, November.
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    More about this item


    workforce; economic; development; OECD; partnerships; Eberts; Erickcek; Upjohn;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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