Executive Summary

Lessons from the Past for Urban Policy in the Era of Trump

The stunning election of Donald Trump as president throws the future of urban policy into doubt. During the campaign he promised to bring new jobs and improved infrastructure to the inner cities, but so far he has furnished no details. Some of the strategies carried out by cities and states in the past may offer the incoming administration some guidance.



Business Climate and the Second War Between the States

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Business Climate and the Second War Between the States

(Or Do We Mean Political Parties)

The use of business climate rankings as an economic development strategy is pervasive throughout the profession and its use is certainly not in decline. Now that, for example, we have tip-toed into 2013, there will be raft of these rankings telling us who did what in 2012. Several are already published. The Curmudgeon is writing this review because he believes you should make a New Year's resolution not to enter into this silly and politicized minefield. The Curmudgeon has the following formal objectives for this review. First, he wants to make sure the reader understands that most of this literature reflects the polarized debate between blue and red and serves little purpose than to expose the stupidity of the other side. Secondly, the Curmudgeon suggests caveats regarding the methodologies that are frequently employed in the rankings and climate studies. Thirdly, the corporate decision to accept or reject an incentive and the goals or quid pro quo the city/state wants in return are both very badly understood. The result is a pathetic sense of how business climate investment decisions are made and what consequences follow. Finally, the Curmudgeon will review three studies of business climate rankings. The first "Business Climate Indexes: Which Work, Which Don't, and What Can They Say About the Kansas Economy", prepared for Kansas Inc; the second, Gauging Metropolitan "High-Tech" and "I-Tech" Activity" and a rejoinder Increasingly Rank: The Use and Misuse of Rankings in Economic Development" & Response, Economic Development Quarterly, Vol. 18, No 1, February 2004 and the final study, "Business Climate Rankings and the California Economy from the Public Policy Institute of California. Each of these studies will question a vital aspect of business climate rankings or analysis.

Isn't this truly more than you ever wanted to know about economic development business climates?

NEXT MONTH: The Political Culture of Local Economic Development

(On or About the First Day of Spring: March 20th)

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