THE REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARADOX: ATTEMPTING POLICY ORDER IN THE FACE OF SOCIETAL COMPLEXITY

Publisher:
Regional Science Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 2017, 23 (1), pp. 68 - 95
Issue Date:
2017
Metrics:
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Regional economic development, in its various guises and manifestations, is deployed throughout much of Australia. Whilst it remains a contested activity, the conventional wisdom of orthodox regional development practice extols the need to embrace complexity, recognise ambiguity and account for multiplicity, whilst simultaneously managing uncertainty and risks through imbuing policy order and control. Theoretical insights suggest that regional development organisations are often intended to be the primary interface between complex governmental and regional socio-economic systems. Derived from an analysis of the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Committee, we find that its regional economic strategy is preoccupied with providing the appearance of policy order; reflecting a bias towards structured processes and transactional relationships, which eschew societal complexities. This conceptual paper uses a case study to provide an entry point to critique the design of Regional Development Australia Committees as we seek to contribute to a richer understanding of the complexity that confronts economic development practitioners.
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