The Formula for Economic Growth on Main Street America: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Formula for Economic Growth on Main Street America

1st Edition

By Gerald L. Gordon


186 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781420093896
pub: 2009-07-29
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The community that establishes and maintains a solid economic framework greatly improves its chances of sustaining itself through fluctuations in the economy. The question is, of course, how can city officials and administrators make this happen?The Formula for Economic Growth on Main Street America examines why economic growth during the late twentieth century was marked by the dramatic rise of some communities and the equally stunning demise of others. This book identifies the key components of sustained economic growth as well as the policies, actions, and inactions that are precursors to the decline of local economies.

Based on the author’s 25 years of experience as president of one of America’s foremost economic development agencies, and his involvement in assisting communities around the world, the book shows how to assess the needs of communities and details what is needed to put plans in place. Drawing on case studies, the book illustrates lessons learned and how they can be applied, including:

  • What steps elected and administrative officials can take to stabilize and enhance the growth of their cities
  • Why the growth of some communities within a single regional marketplace can dramatically outpace that of neighbors possessing similar locations and assets
  • How communities can establish programs that sustain economic growth and provide jobs—without raising taxes

As communities struggle to cope with diminished tax revenues, the idea of achieving sustainable growth without raising taxes seems too good to be true. Tapping into the same strategies that allowed Fairfax County, Virginia, to enjoy triple-digit job growth while reducing property taxes, Dr. Gerald Gordon provides the framework and strategies to weather most economic storms and chart a course toward sustainable economic development.


Dr. Gordon has provided a comprehensive, analytic, and clear look at the importance and complexity of economic growth. His book provides a necessary framework and concrete examples. … an important read for both the expert and the student.

— Dr. Alan Merten, President, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Local economic growth requires true leadership. Dr. Gordon’s 25 years of experience in Fairfax County have yielded the kinds of valuable insights that can benefit other communities.

— Steven L. Davis, Chairman, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority & Former Senior Executive, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Table of Contents

Defining Economic Growth in a Changing Business Climate

Economic Growth in Post-WWII America

Changing Views of Community Economic Growth through the 70s, 80s, and 90s

Births and Deaths of Companies, Industries, and Regions

Winners and Losers: Communities at the End of the Twentieth Century

Twenty-First Century Growth: Do Communities Compete in a Zero-Sum Game?

Viewing Economic Growth as Part of a Comprehensive Community Strategy

Static Economies: If Areas Do Not Grow, Do They Die?

Building Economic Growth into the Master Plan

Theoretical Foundations for Local Economic Growth

Public Policies for Economic Growth

Emerging Programs for Community Growth

Viewing Local Economic Growth from Different Perspectives

Planning for Economic Growth

Local Economies in Decline: How to Lose the Business Base

The Consequences of No-Growth Policies: Jobs, the Tax Base, and Economic Stagnation

Arresting Community "Brain Drains"

Community Gap Analyses

Where Public Policies Have Contributed to Job Losses or Slower Job Growth

Local Economic Recovery: Growth after the Fall

Can Losers Become Winners?

Cluster Economies

Case studies

The New Growth Economies: Attracting and Retaining the Local Business Base

Making the Pro-Growth Case to Local Elected Officials

Marketing at Home and Abroad

A Tale of Two Cities: A Comparison of Long Island, New York and Fairfax County, Virginia

Other Case Studies

Rural Economic Growth: Are There Unique Lessons?

Regional Economic Growth: Are There Unique Lessons?

Starting Up Start-Ups

Can Communities Suffer From Too Much Success?

Magnifying Existing Problems

Addressing New Problems

Managing Local Expectations

Will the Formula Change? — Community Economic Growth in the Second Decade of the Millennium

The Growth Industries of Tomorrow

The Changing Components of Site Location Decisions

Diversification of the Local Economic Base

The Economics of Inclusion

Funding Local Economic Development: The Twin Pillars of Sufficiency and Consistency




About the Originator

About the Series

ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

Founded in 1939, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the premier professional organization for public administration, dedicated to advancing its art, science, teaching and practice. The ASPA book series provides expert information on a range of public administration issues, each authored by a leader in the field. Series Editor David Rosenbloom is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs at American University, USA.

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