Economic and Social Infrastructure in the Strategy of Regional Economic Development: An Alternative Theoretical Perspective Relevant to Open Economies

The purpose of this paper is to reformulate the problem of unemployment and its relation to education; i.e., to suggest a new conceptual perspective on this relationship. The major hypothesis is that the people of a low-income region with limited opportunities for educated persons interpret their local economic environment and its job opportunities as indicating the actual benefits of education, and hence undervalue it. This hypothesis is not tested in this paper, but examined as an indication of a direction for further research. An illustrative example which is representative of many other economically lagging regions is a 19-county area of South Central Kentucky, which has received much state and U. S. development assistance. This region is of special interest because demand for labor has rapidly increased and education is available, but unemployment remains stubbornly high and the level of education low. Therefore, it appears that a strategy of merely providing educational and employment opportunities and transportation infrastructure will not lift a lagging region out of poverty. Further research is needed, beginning with a re-examination and reformulation of the problem to include the impact of the social and economic environment created by the predominance of unskilled and non-technical jobs in the area. An alternative strategy which is re1evant to an open economy is suggested if the hypothesis proves to be valid.

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Staff Paper No. 250

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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