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Local economic development in an age of devolution: The question of rural localities*

  • Year: 2003
  • Author: Dewees, Sarah; Lobao, Linda; Swanson, Louis E
  • Journal Name: Rural Sociology
  • Journal Number: Vol.68, No.2
  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • Published Location: Columbia, United States
  • Country: United States
  • State/Region: Ohio

There is limited recent research on the strategies that rural local governments are employing in the face of changing intergovernmental relationships, especially in relation to local economic development. This paper draws on data from a survey of local governments in the Ohio River Valley Region that includes a mix of localities on the urban-rural continuum, to empirically address three issues. First, we examined the extent to which county governments have undertaken local economic development initiatives as well as other, extra-economic activities designed to improve community well-being. Second, we assessed the extent to which rural county governments vary from urban counties in their activities and available resources. Finally, we employed logistic regression models of factors associated with use of development strategies to determine the relationship between rurality and local development policy activities. The results show that rural counties are less likely than urban counties to undertake various economic development activities, with observed urban-rural differences largely attributable to county socioeconomic disadvantages, such as poverty and education.

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