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A History of American State and Local Economic Development

As Two Ships Pass in the Night Ronald W. Coan, Senior Fellow and Editor, the Council for Community and Economic Research, US
A History of American State and Local Economic Development relates the history of American local and state economic development from 1790 to 2000. This multi-variable, multi-disciplinary history employs a bottom-up policy-making systems approach while exploring the three eras of economic development.
Extent: 752 pp
Hardback Price: $210.00 Web: $189.00
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78536 635 2
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • Political Economy
  • Public Sector Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Policy
A History of American State and Local Economic Development presents the history of American local and state economic development from 1790 to 2000. This multi-variable, multi-disciplinary history employs a bottom-up policy-making systems approach through three eras of American state and local economic development.

The history offers insight into why the practice and profession evolved as it has and comments on its present-day complexity. It stresses mainstream economic and community development as an output of jurisdictional policy systems driven by political culture and three key forces of change—industry/sector profit cycle, population mobility, and three competitive urban hierarchies—which continue to impact policy-making. With several chapters on each major US region, this book observes two macro political cultures, Privatism and Progressivism, that have persisted since the Early Republic and have inspired two often-conflicting approaches to confront urban growth and decline.

The model employed to organize and explain the evolution of American state and local economic development puts great stress on the three ‘competitive hierarchies’ (urban, metropolitan, and global) – the last anticipating and incorporating populism and the future election of Donald Trump. The discussion concerning political culture and the Big Sort also reflects implications from the 2016 election.

This history of American state and local economic development will be of main interest to the academic community and economic development professionals, particularly those in political science, public policy, history, economics, planning, urban sociology, and geography. Research institutes, policy institutes, and NGOs will also find value in the comprehensive history.
‘This is an amazingly comprehensive interpretive analysis of the factors, forces and institutions that shaped the evolution of economic development in America. Ronald W. Coan examines and interprets the historic evolution of both the institution and the practice of economic development. It is this analytic model and its use for the examination of the duality of economic development in America that separates this work from others that examine American economic history and from parts of other books and essays that examine the role and fact of economic development over the 200+ years of the American nation.’
– Roger Stough, George Mason University, US

‘Coan frames American sub-national economic development as two ships passing in the night, but his seminal work demonstrates that state and local economic development efforts are shaped by an armada of historical forces. He masterfully ties historical economic patterns to key events—many of which have not headlined the more familiar American narrative, yet have played a vital role in shaping the economic legacy of the nation’s communities and states.’
– Kenneth E. Poole, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, US
Contents: Preface Part I Classic Era of Economic Development 1. In the Beginning was Chapter One 2. As the Twig is Bent: Pre-Civil War Migration and Political Culture 3. Early Republic Economic Development 4. The Industrial Big City: Primeval Soup of Big City Economic Development 5. Big City Economic Development 6. Two Paths Diverge: Take One 7. Pre-Depression South 8. Western Economic Development into the Twenties 9. The Twenties: Not So Calm Before the Storm Part II “Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning” The Winds of Depression, War and Victory: 1930-1961 10. Big Cities: New Deal, War Years 11. Urban Renewal: The Scarlet Letter of Economic Development 12. The South: New Deal, World War II and the Fifties 13. The West: New Deal, War Years and Fifties 14. Dry Rot to Decay: Big City Change in the ‘Wonder Bread’ Years 1945-1960 15. Hegemonic Big Cities and Rising Sunbelt Part III Foundations of Contemporary ED/CD 16. The Sixties 17. The Seventies: The World Turned Upside Down 18. Through the Eighties: Reversing Decline 19. Foundations of Contemporary Practice and Policy Emerge 20. As Two Ships Pass in the Night: The Short Story of American Economic Development Index