On the emergence and significance of local economic development strategies
This paper examines to what extent local and regional economic development strategies (LED) are becoming a necessary and viable complement to traditional development strategies in a world that has been radically changed by the parallel processes of economic globalization and by the emergence of subnational political actors and changes in territorial governance. Drawing on five Latin American examples from Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, the paper identifies the key concepts, core values, and principles that inspire this approach to development. It also looks at the key constraining and facilitating factors that contribute to the success or failure of this type of strategies and at the characteristics that contribute to generate an enabling environment for this type of approach. The main conclusion is that local economic development strategies, while no panacea, may be a valid complement to traditional top-down strategies in order to deliver sustainable development and it many cases may deliver greater economic efficiency by mobilizing resources that otherwise may have remained untapped and a large number of social benefits, by promoting voice, participation, and sustainability across territories where institutional conditions have been far from ideal.
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