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.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Volume 37, Issue 1
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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