Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr Godwin Arku


Although economic development has been a long standing tradition within policy agenda of municipalities, it has nevertheless undergone significant changes as a way of gaining competitiveness over the years. Since the 1990s, however, economic development has become a critical component on municipalities’ agenda, partly as a result of local municipal level conditions and partly due to global economic changes. The emerging dynamics are leading to a more rapidly evolving field of economic development. In view of the recent trends, many scholars of economic development have argued that municipalities will need to substantially reconfigure and change their approaches in order to gain a competitive edge, in an emerging globalized world. In line with the emerging debate, the objectives of this research were (i) to explore the perceptions of economic development practitioners on their recent approaches vis-à-vis the changing global economy; (ii) to ascertain the kinds of economic development strategies being pursued in the emerging global economy and (iii) to gauge the perceptions of economic development practitioners about critics’ rhetoric and their policy prescriptions. Using qualitative methods, in-depth interviews were conducted with practitioners (n=20) from various municipalities across Ontario and the data were analysed using key themes of participants. The results show that various municipalities are employing unique, albeit occasionally similar, approaches to ensure economic advancement. The findings call for the inclusion of perceptions of practitioners in economic development circles or rhetoric, as a key consideration for balanced and sustainable development in municipalities.

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