Industry Targeting: A New Approach to Local Economic Development
Industry targeting is one of several new subnational economic development strategies that have emerged since the late 1970s. It reflects a shift away from a conventional concern with firm recruitment to a desire to support indigenous industry. Rather than measuring economic success by the number of jobs, this approach to economic development focuses instead on overall productivity and efficiency gains among related industries. Within this perspective, the role of government is to establish the necessary social and physical infrastructure to encourage firm growth and retention. Industry targeting has been particularly attractive to state and local governments in the last few years, when their resources for economic development have been especially limited. By the late 1980s, over fifty industry targeting initiatives had been undertaken in the United States, from Pittsburgh's steel industry to Alaska's timber industry.