After Amazon: Planning for Regional Growth

The dichotomy in economic outcomes around the country won't be solved by one-off competitions like the bidding process to land Amazon's second headquarters.
January 20, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Andrew Jameson

After the process to site Amazon's second headquarters entered a dramatic new stage this week, the nation is left again to evaluate what the spectacle reveals of economic development strategy in the United States. According to Mark Muro and Amy Liu, "while the fall’s 'Amazon Idol' competition is garnering high ratings, the fact remains that it is a major distraction from the glaring need for the country to systematically think about a much larger development problem—the nation’s gaping regional prosperity divides."

Instead of "Amazon Idol," Muro and Liu propose a recommitment to regional growth. "At present, America possesses no strategy—let alone serious policies—for addressing the uneven allocation of growth across the nation’s 50 states and hundreds of metropolitan areas," according to Muro and Liu, who detail the landscape of economic development around the United States under the current political regime.

Muro and Liu identify a few useful existing precedents, both in theory and in practice, to "hack together some basic outlines of what policymakers, especially the federal government, might do to push back against the nation’s geographical distress."

Here's are two "watchwords" that organize their recommendations, with more details included in the source article: 1) "Make spatially balanced growth a priority" and 2) "Maintain (don’t cut) existing policies that enhance U.S. competitiveness—and support regional development."

[Editor's note: This article is from September 2017, but we share it this week due to its relevance to current events.]

Full Story:
Published on Friday, September 22, 2017 in Brookings
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email