Friday, 6 January 2017

Affordable, sustainable local economic research for small urban areas: 22 years of evolution and refinement

an article by John M McGrath, Skip Glenn, and Ronald Vickroy (University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, USA) published in Local Economy Volume 31 Number 6 (2016)


This article details the evolution and refinement of a low-cost study of economic conditions in a small metropolitan area over the past 22 years. Annually, the chamber of commerce of the study area collaborates with faculty members at a local university to conduct the research, which is shared with business and community leaders at a regional economic summit.

The study addresses the unique information needs for a local economy that are not filled by existing federal and state data. Specific measures include projected changes in employment and an ‘‘optimism scale’’ for local organizations.

Over time, the study’s methodology has evolved from a paper survey to include an online survey option, as well as the addition of new measures to address changing community needs. The approach is technically and financially sustainable and within the reach of local organizations with modest research budgets.

The study could be adopted easily in other small communities.

Full text (PDF)

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