Do we still need Rural Place-Based policy in an Urbanizing World?
Rural areas across the developed world have long been recipients of policies aimed to improve their well-being at great expense to public treasuries. Most of these policies are aimed at the agriculture sector as well other natural resource based industries. With productivity growth and consolidation, agriculture and natural resource based sectors employ relatively few workers in rural areas, leading to criticisms that these narrow sectoral based policies are misguided if their true aim is broad-based rural development. Others argue that rural policy is obsolete as formally rural communities have increasingly become part of urban-centered mega regions. These rural areas are now in an interdependent relationship with their urban neighbors in which urban areas are the primary drivers of economic activity in a knowledge economy, while rural residents are the stewards of the environment and natural resources. Others instead argue the globalization and technological change make regional policy obsolete and rural policy just slows needed adjustments toward cities or productive areas. After decades of rural placed based policy, this study will assess whether sectoral-based rural policy still makes sense and whether movements to a regional orientation will improve socioeconomic performance for rural residents and urban taxpayers.
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