Cleveland State University

Economic Development

Research Topics

Development Theory

Hill, Edward W. and Jeremy Nowak, Nothing left to lose: Radical policy changes are required to uncover the competitive advantages of America's distressed cities, The Brookings Review Summer 2000): 23-26. *** Portions of this article were reprinted as: Cities that have forgotten their regional economies: Strategies for America's distressed cities, Greater Philadelphia Regional Review, with Jeremy Nowak (Fall 2000): 8-11 and Wanted: A Camden exit strategy, Philadelphia Inquirer.

When we first started work on this article, we called it "Cities Forgotten by Their Regional Economies." But as we reflected more on the competitive position of distressed central cities, we realized that the title was wrong. Cities have not been forgotten by their regional economies; rather, all too often, the opposite has happened. Distressed central cities have not, or perhaps cannot, react to changes in their current competitive positions within their regional economies.
The urban employment renaissance of the 1990s has been largely confined to a few large central cities, bypassing many others and avoiding scores of formerly industrial small to mid-sized central cities. Our challenge is to understand why distressed central cities such as Camden, New Jersey, or Detroit, Michigan?have had trouble adjusting to competitive realities and then to try to devise public policies that allow them to uncover their competitive advantages.

Hill, Edward W. and John F. Brennan, A methodology for identifying the drivers of industrial clusters: The foundation of regional competitive advantage, Economic Development Quarterly 14(1) (February 2000): 65-96. * In 2005 and 2006 ranked fourth in EDQ's citation list.

This article represents a theoretically based method for identifying the clusters of industries in which a region has a competitive advantage. The method combines cluster analysis with discriminant analysis, using variables derived from economic base theory and measures of productivity, to identify the industries in which a region has its greatest competitive advantage. These industries are called driver industries because they drive the region's economy. The driver industries are linked to supplier and customer industries with information from a region-specific input-output model to form industry clusters. After introductory comments about cluster-based approaches to understanding regional economies, the authors present an overview of their method and the variables used. They then apply this method to the Cleveland-Akron Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Hill, Edward W., Principles for rethinking the federal government's role in economic development, Economic Development Quarterly (November 1998) 12(4): 299-312. ***

This article begins with a discussion of differences between economic and community development. A three-dimensional policy framework for analyzing subnational economic development policy is presented. One dimension consists of the goals of efficiency and equity. The confusion between the equity objectives of poverty alleviation and helping distressed communities is explained. The second dimension includes three sets of government and market failures that are rationales for federal intervention - provision of public goods, the mismatch in political and economic federalisms, and the mismatch between political and economic time horizons. The third dimension is the funding mechanisms for development programs - people, places, and people through places. The last section contains recommendations for restructuring federal policy.

Hill, Edward W., John F. Brennan, and Harold L. Wolman, What is a central city in the United States? Applying a statistical technique for developing taxonomies, Urban Studies, 35(11) (November 1998): 1935-1969.*

We test the null hypothesis that municipalities defined as central cities by the US Bureau of the Census in 1990 are homogeneous - a hypothesis we reject. Rather, we find that US central cities consist of 2 distinct subsets of municipalities that are aggregated from 13 cluster groupings. The article has two purposes. The first is methodological. We develop a method that uses cluster analysis to group US central cities; then we employ discriminant analysis to establish the statistical validity of those groups. We also develop techniques to minimize the role of judgment in selecting the appropriate cluster solution. The second purpose of the article is to test the substantive null hypothesis. Our rejection of the homogeneity assumption raises the specter of specification error in research and public policies that assume homogeneity among central cities.

Hill, Edward W., The Cleveland economy: A case study of economic restructuring. In W. Dennis Keating, Norman Krumholz and David Perry (eds.) Cleveland: A metropolitan reader (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1995): 53-86. Parts of this chapter have been subsequently reprinted as: A city built on work, Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 7, 1997 and Bingham et al., Beyond edge cities (NY: Garland Publishing, 1997) pp.56-61.

In 1978 everything seemed to come apart in Cleveland: politically, the mayor survived a voter recall by 236 votes; fiscally, Cleveland was the first city to suffer a bond default since the Great Depression; and ecologically, Lake Erie was declared dead. Coterminous with these disasters, the economy of Greater Cleveland experienced an irreparable secular erosion of its durable goods base, starting in the third quarter of 1979 and continuing until the first quarter of 1983, signaling the end of the old economic order. This essay discusses Cleveland's shift from the old to a new order economy. A brief description of the emergence of the industrial old order economy is followed by an analysis of the new economic structure. This analysis suggests that the new economic structure involves more than the numbers of jobs lost or changed. It is also evident in changes in the incidence of poverty, the relative costs of housing, and the occupational characteristics of the residential labor force.

Hill, Edward W., What is the effect of random variation in state unemployment rates? Monthly Labor Review 110(12) (December 1987): 41 46. *

The reported monthly unemployment rate from the Current Population Survey (CPS) is the best point estimate of labor market activity available by State and local labor market areas. Because of its timeliness, wide coverage, and comprehensiveness, it is used by governments, planners, corporations, and the media. However, statements are often made about fluctuations in the unemployment rate which are unwarranted due to the variance of the data series.

* article is peer reviewed
** article is reviewed by editorial board
*** article is invited

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