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Measuring Local Economic Development Policy and the Influence of Economic Conditions

Author: MAX NEIMAN and KENNETH FERNANDEZ
Published in IJED, Vol. 1 No. 3

Based on a completed, large-scale study of suburban cities in Southern California (N=202) this paper reports on the existence and usefulness of measuring local economic development policy in various ways. The policy measures were derived from an extensive survey of local economic development officials. Comparisons between simple additive scales of total policy activity and additive scales derived from factor analysis are made. After comparing the results of regression analysis of local policies measured in several ways, it is concluded that in some instances explanations of local policies are best approached by measuring policy in fairly simple ways. In this case, our set of conventional independent variables explains the most amount of variation in the additive measure. Moreover, the patterns of findings do not alter in substantively important ways when the policy measure is altered. The most salient finding is that both poverty levels and average income were both negatively correlated with our policy measures. Further examination of income and poverty show empirical support for Goetz’s uneven development hypothesis.

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