You are here

Jobs Created? Economic Development as Language Games

Download pdf | Full Screen View

Date Issued:
2015
Summary:
State and local governments in the U.S. spend an estimated $80 billion annually on economic development incentives and subsidies. The economic development discourse is dominated by a jobs-centered narrative, with the concept of "jobs created" at its core. This work examines the current jobs-centered narrative and how it came to be. It identifies the practices and processes by which the current narrative persists and proliferates, analyzing its implications, which include the narrative's role in the use of corporate subsidies and incentives. This work is a critical history, identifying the point of establishment of a new equilibrium in the economic development narrative (Gaddis, 2002), utilizing ethnographic description to examine behaviors within the economic development arena. Language game dynamics (Wittgenstein, 1953) working to establish "public" meaning (Geertz, 1973) within economic developmen t are explored. Baudrillard's Phases of the Image (1994) are employed to view alternative meanings of the term "jobs created". Policy emulation (Bennett, 1991) as a means for the replication of economic development practices is examined. The work differentiates between policy emulation and convergence, arguing that emulation can and does occur in the absence of convergence, but can also act as its agent. Convergence was established as a possible end result of emulation, and necessary elements such as disparate starting policy positions must first be present in order for convergence to occur. The analysis reveals that the current jobs-centered narrative in economic development is a result of a complex language game. The economic development language game is a multi-faceted game with well-established roots and mechanisms for self-preservation and perpetuation. Emanating from communities' sense and fear of loss, relying on an unchallenged library of professional jargon which the public only vaguely understands, and ever reinforcing itself through the use of state and international industry organizations, the game is deeply entrenched in the field of economic development. The study concludes with recommendations for mitigation of the effects of the game. These findings have implications for how economic development aims and successes are measured and communicated, how governments expend resources in economic development and how the industry regulates its own activities.
Title: Jobs Created? Economic Development as Language Games.
97 views
28 downloads
Name(s): Tinsley, Steven, author
Patterson, Patricia M., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
College for Design and Social Inquiry
School of Public Administration
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2015
Date Issued: 2015
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 162 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: State and local governments in the U.S. spend an estimated $80 billion annually on economic development incentives and subsidies. The economic development discourse is dominated by a jobs-centered narrative, with the concept of "jobs created" at its core. This work examines the current jobs-centered narrative and how it came to be. It identifies the practices and processes by which the current narrative persists and proliferates, analyzing its implications, which include the narrative's role in the use of corporate subsidies and incentives. This work is a critical history, identifying the point of establishment of a new equilibrium in the economic development narrative (Gaddis, 2002), utilizing ethnographic description to examine behaviors within the economic development arena. Language game dynamics (Wittgenstein, 1953) working to establish "public" meaning (Geertz, 1973) within economic developmen t are explored. Baudrillard's Phases of the Image (1994) are employed to view alternative meanings of the term "jobs created". Policy emulation (Bennett, 1991) as a means for the replication of economic development practices is examined. The work differentiates between policy emulation and convergence, arguing that emulation can and does occur in the absence of convergence, but can also act as its agent. Convergence was established as a possible end result of emulation, and necessary elements such as disparate starting policy positions must first be present in order for convergence to occur. The analysis reveals that the current jobs-centered narrative in economic development is a result of a complex language game. The economic development language game is a multi-faceted game with well-established roots and mechanisms for self-preservation and perpetuation. Emanating from communities' sense and fear of loss, relying on an unchallenged library of professional jargon which the public only vaguely understands, and ever reinforcing itself through the use of state and international industry organizations, the game is deeply entrenched in the field of economic development. The study concludes with recommendations for mitigation of the effects of the game. These findings have implications for how economic development aims and successes are measured and communicated, how governments expend resources in economic development and how the industry regulates its own activities.
Identifier: FA00004552 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2015.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Economic development -- United States
Economics -- Methodology
Entrepreneurship -- United States
Industrial promotion -- United States
United States -- Economic conditions -- 21st century
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004552
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004552
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.