1993 volume 25(11) pages 1649 – 1661

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Wood A, 1993, "Organizing for local economic development: local economic development networks and prospecting for industry" Environment and Planning A 25(11) 1649 – 1661

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Organizing for local economic development: local economic development networks and prospecting for industry

A Wood

Received 25 March 1993

Abstract. In this paper, the organization of activities designed to promote local economic development (LED) in the USA is explored. The emergence of local economic development networks (LEDNs) as critical mediators in attracting new business investment into metropolitan areas is addressed. These networks comprise private and state organizations with major institutionalized stakes in LED. Each organization has a distinct set of powers and responsibilities which generate a division of labor with respect to the attraction of investment into a locality. It is argued that LEDNs are a means of integrating the activities of the different agents into this division of labor. Also explored are the conditions that lead to the formation of networks mediated by relations of trust as a principal means of organizing for LED. LEDNs are seen to be characterized by various power asymmetries, and the implications of these asymmetries for the politics of LED are explored in the final section. Empirical material is drawn upon from extended interviews with representatives of seventy-eight economic development organizations in four major metropolitan areas in Ohio.

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