Journal of Applied Research in Economic Development

An Introduction to A History of American State and Local Government: As Two Ships Pass in the Night


Dr. Ron W. Coan

Editor of the Journal of Applied Research in Economic Development

Senior Fellow, Council for Community and Economic Research


May's  Issue:

As Two Ships:

A History of American State and Local Government: As Two Ships Pass in the Night

A New Way to Think About State and Local Economic Development

Observations and Perspective from my History of American State and Local Economic Development , 1789 to 1980's. First in a two-issue introduction into the findings and new insight that arises from our two-hundred plus years of professional and policy experience. Yogi Berra supposedly claimed "the future ain't what it used to be" --- well either is our past. Back to the roots of American economic development. How we got to where we are today.



Latest Articles

August 2011

Below the Tip of the Iceberg: Innovation and the Knowledge-Based Economy as Political Strategy

Innovation or growth economics is everywhere, but should it be taken at face value as a non partisan solution to present day economic woes and the single best strategy for local economic development? Let’s dissect the National Governors Association report, “Innovation America: the Final Report”. Is the really deep down justification for innovation and growth economics political, not economic? Like an iceberg, it’s what you don’t see that sinks ships.

August 2011

Rummaging Around the Basement: The Economic Theory behind Innovation and the Knowledge-Based Economy

Have you ever noticed that most advocates for innovation and knowledge-based policies simply state that innovation, creativity, entrepreneurism, education are the best strategy for future economic growth in our new global competitive economy? Where’s the Proof? On what basis can they make that claim which most of us blindly accept? Let’s take a look at the little known economic “theory” which supports the innovation and knowledge-based “growth economics”.

Written for those of us who speak only English, not Economese!

June 2011

The Path Less Traveled

Rather than choose any one book or article in which the Curmudgeon will dutifully at least attempt to summarize– before burying it in skepticism if not outright hostility, the Curmudgeon will drop all pretenses of objectivity and offer what he can best describe as an essay.

June 2011

The Journal at Six Months

We are six months old. Did you ever think we would be around and kicking for so long? Not sure the Curmudgeon did, but judging by informal comments and reactions of our readership we seem to be filling a niche—a cranky (and sometimes windy) niche to be sure. But with the support of the C2ER Board of Directors/Management, especially a young lady named Rebecca, we are not only continuing but building upon our own knowledge-based, innovative and creative initiative (the Journal-in case you weren’t sure what the initiative was). Our success creates, not surprisingly, the need for bureaucracy. We are pleased to announce that we have not one, but two, Assistant Editors (William Cook and Kevin McAvey) and our Creative Visual Specialist, and office mate, Spencer Abrams.

May 2011


Throw a rock out of any window these days and you’ll hit something written about regionalism, clusters, knowledge-based economy or innovation. Choosing to review any of these topics is an invitation to have your eyes burst from the strain of having to review the literature in order to choose an appropriate work to discuss. McGahey’s Regional Economic Development in Theory and Practice is in the Curmudgeon’s opinion one of the better discussions on regionalism that has been published in recent years. McGahey’s article offers important insights into current regional thinking. But it also forces the Curmudgeon to backfill the reader on a wide variety of past regionalist movements which have occurred over the last fifty-sixty years. Each movement or set of initiatives was distinctively inspired by a then in vogue perspective of why regionalism was desirable and necessary. The tale has evolved over the years, but in many ways seems to have remained in its essentials, rather constant. How current regionalism may have evolved from our historical past should shed some light into its essential message.

May 2011

The theme du mois is REGIONALISM.

As the reader might expect, the Curmudgeon approaches the topic in his own unique fashion. Usually a discussion on regionalism contains a set of reasons why one has to be a dolt not to do it; offers some sort of virtually inevitable promise of almost certain revitalization; and then ends with a plaintive scream of frustration that evil forces are still blocking its success. The Curmudgeon has heard calls by someone or other to regionalize from day one of his professional career and as he sails ever closer to the sunset, he is still hearing cries to regionalize. Enough already! Why can’t we regionalize?

Taking a long term perspective in his first article, the Curmudgeon tries to better understand the roots of our current regionalism and to offer some ideas as to why it has faced constant opposition or at least apathy. In his second article, the Curmudgeon reviews the latest effort on Regionalism by the Center for Competitiveness and calls attention to the relatively recent marriage of a young and charming concept called clusters to an older, somewhat weathered spouse called regionalism. He offers his ever cherished advice on the prospects of the union.

May 2011

April 2011

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of!

The Curmudgeon has followed Rybczynski since he first read, HOME, back in the 1980’s. Occupationally Rybczynski is an architectural critic but he is much more than that. His written works have been excellent and critically acclaimed and his latest work, Makeshift Metropolis, ought to be read by serious scholars and practitioners alike. Makeshift offers a […]

April 2011

Everybody in Casablanca has problems. Yours may work out.

The Curmudgeon strikes yet again. This time our theme centers on both real estate development and business retention. Our first review offers a description and the inevitable Curmudgeon commentary of Witold Rybczynski’s Makeshift Metropolis. Rybczynski is most likely little known to most economic developers; he should be much more appreciated. Makeshift Metropolis is a wonderful, short assessment of real estate development and redevelopment over the last fifty years. Rybczynski is also a curmudgeon in his own right, and his perspective is both sharp, and penetrating.

Our second review, based on a series of articles drawn from Urban Land (November/December 2010), focuses on health care industry real estate development and redevelopment. While we are reviewing the potential for the local health care industry’s expansion in our communities, the Curmudgeon is also trying to fix economic developer’s attention on raising the priority of health care in our business retention program. Health care is, for various reasons a neglected sector, but in the future decade may well be one the most critical for the “health” and viability of our communities.

April 2011

The Treasure of Sierra Madre (Hospital)?

Medical Development Trends, Urban Land, Vol. 69. Number 11/12, November/December 2010, P.46-61 This is not intended to be a review of the health care sector. Rather, the Curmudgeon hopes to raise the interest in the health care sector as a high priority target for a local business retention and expansion. Ever more interested in affairs […]