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Traditional V. Non-Traditional Local Economic Development: A Test Of Two Approaches

IJED, Vol. 13 No. 2, (2020)

We examine the extent to which the non-traditional focus on quality of life in local economic development is associated with local economic performance that is at least as good as, if not better than the more traditional emphasis on industrial development in the United States. To address this, we compare two types of city-level economic development corporations (EDCs) in the state of Texas – 4A EDCs that focus on industrial-related development and 4B EDCs that pursue improvements in community amenities. We measure local economic performance across Texas cities with an EDC in 2000 and 2010. The economic measures are the overall employment level, the number or individuals employed across 11 economic sectors and the number of establishments in each of these sectors. Our findings have relevance for both scholars and community leaders engaged in economic development decision making where limited city resources must produce beneficial economic outcomes.

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