Economic development is the sustained, coordinated actions of policy makers that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area. Such actions can involve multiple areas including development of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, health, safety, literacy, and other initiatives. Economic development differs from economic growth. Whereas economic development is a policy intervention endeavour with aims of economic and social well-being of people, economic growth is a phenomenon of market productivity and rise in GDP. Consequently economic growth is a consequence of successful economic development.
We tend to think of economic development programmes as something The West does for The Rest, i.e. aid programs to the developing countries. However the Worlds largest development program is right here in Europe. It is the EU cohesion policy, which aims to reduce the inequalities between European cities and regions. This policy is currently undergoing a major redesign for the next framework period 2014-2020.
In the video below, arranged by London School of Economics an recorded on 12 January 2012 in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, Professor Philip McCann, special adviser to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, discusses one of the great policy-making challenges of recent times, the redesign of the European Union cohesion policy.
The video is about 90 minutes long but it is worthwhile to watch for all of us who are involved in regional development projects.