NATSEM Seminar Series

Rural communities in an urbanizing world will they survive? Should urbanites care?

Tue 11 December 2018Professor Mark Partridge (Ohio State University)Ann Harding Conference Centre, Building 24, University of Canberra

Date: Tuesday 11 December 2018
Time: 5.30pm for a 6pm start. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided
Venue: Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra
RSVP: Eventbrite by Monday 3 December for catering purposes 


This event is free and open to the public


Speaker: Professor Mark Partridge (Ohio State University)

Professor Mark Partridge holds the  C. William Swank Chair of Rural-Urban Policy at The Ohio State University, working in its Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. He has published over 125 peer-reviewed journal papers, and he has been described as the most influential author currently working in the field of regional science. He is co-author of The Geography of American Poverty: Is there a Role for Place-Based Policy? Much of his research continues to examine how economic shocks affect local communities and their regions, including regions that have a strong mining industry. Another theme is how policy can mitigate the negative impacts of income inequality and poverty on the economy and wellbeing.

Abstract: The rise of populist political parties centered in rural areas has led to renewed interest in rural areas in developed countries. A common theme is that rural areas are increasingly being left behind and share an uncertain future of economic stagnation and decline. I will assess how much of this popular perception is true. I find that much of the rural decline is really a reclassification issue and that rural development doesn’t look so bad when viewed in that context. In addition, many rural areas are thriving today, especially those with high amenities, mineral resources (though these will likely decline after the resource is extracted), and those near urban areas. However, there is a large share of rural areas that are in long-term decline calling for policy action. Namely, a triage choice has to be made in that the most vulnerable rural communities are unlikely to be “saved” by government action because they are no longer sustainable. Other communities can be saved by government support, but if government resources are spread too thin, there will be insufficient government support to help those that can benefit. In particular, helping rural areas with nearby urban ties is one of the best use of rural development funds and has by far the highest chance of success. I then describe what successful rural development policy looks like when facing these realities.


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