A New Way to Think About State and Local Economic Development

Yogi Berra supposedly claimed "the future ain't what it used to be" --- well either is our past.

Back to the Future of American Economic Development.

How we got to where we are today helps to understand how we get to where we need to go. 

A bold new approach for the Journal of Applied Research in Economic Development is appearing on your screen in March.

Why Do We Need a Bold New Approach--Read our Latest Issue

"Has Economic Development Lost its Ability to Innovate: Can We Practice What We Preach?


 An FREE ONLINE Introduction to the History of American State and Local Economic Development from George Washington to Donald Trump

For Further Information Click Here

Latest Articles

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 […]

March 2011

Confessions of a Serial Tax Abater

New times and new realities command change and adaptation. The Journal of Applied Research in Economic Development is no exception. With the beginning of the New Year, Volume 8, we introduced our latest and greatest version of the Journal. The NEW Journal is exclusively online. The core of the new Journal will be two reviews, published each month, under the byline “In the Trenches”. “In the Trenches” is our “above the fold” cornerstone around which the reviews will focus, reflecting our central purpose of translating academic and think tank research into the language of local economic directors in the field. We invite your feedback and contributions.

March 2011

The Ugly

Any reader of the articles in “The Ugly” knows pretty quickly where their authors stand on tax abatement and incentives. If the title of the articles does not suggest a conclusion, the opening paragraph of Alan Peters & Peter Fisher’s, The Failures of Economic Development Incentives”, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol.70, No 1, […]

March 2011

The Bad

In my professional life the two sources of information regarding tax abatement effectiveness seemed to issue from either Think Tanks/Institutes whose membership and revenue base was drawn from labor unions, or from academia. Conversely, in response, practitioners of local economic development, one after another, would counter any criticisms and outrage from academia or the Institutes […]

March 2011

The Good

The articles reviewed in this section are labeled “The Good” simply because they accept the existence of tax abatement and incentives. They acknowledge that under some circumstances tax abatement can be productive and useful and are searching to both understand how abatements actually operate in the field and how to improve their performance. The Economic […]

March 2011

Behold a Pale Rider

What is responsible for the controversy regarding the use of tax abatement in local economic development? Specifically, should the serial tax abater feel ashamed or proud for what he has done in his past life? It is the recipient that is the heart of the tax abatement controversy.Our take on this question is that the […]

February 2011

Is This Time Any Different?

Our discussion on the New Normal and the Post-Financial Crisis centers chiefly around two major conceptual positions. The first is the New Normal label and its conceptual underpinnings and was developed by Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of America’s largest asset manager, PIMCO. The second conceptual position is drawn from Reinhart & Rogoff’s, This Time is Different. It is worth note that El-Erian put his concept together in 2008-2009 period and Reinhart and Rogoff in early 2010. They have been mostly right thus far into 2012. The article first appeared in January 2011 and has been edited and updated for this issue.