Rural Economic Development Policies for the Midwestern States

Daniel M. Otto, Stanley R. Johnson, Helen H. Jensen, Sheila A. Martin
May 1988  [88-WP 35]

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Otto, D.M., S.R. Johnson, H.H. Jensen, and S.A. Martin. 1988. "Rural Economic Development Policies for the Midwestern States." Working paper 88-WP 35. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


Economic restructuring in rural areas of the Midwest has stimulated a myriad of initiatives. This paper examines recent economic development patterns in the rural Midwest and reviews traditional policy approaches prescribed for dealing with rural problems. These approaches relate to resource availability, technology, markets, and space and location, and institutions. Since past development policies often have failed to recognize the underlyaing changes in economic structure that have led to depressed conditions, an alternative approach to rural economic policy is proposed. A comprehensive rural development effort needs to have a more scientific basis if it is to be sustainable and politically sound. The framework to facilitate rural development policymaking advocated in this paper utilizes modern information system procedures for policy design, monitoring policy change, and evaluation.