By Pete Julius

Globalization has had a positive and negative effect on economic development.  From a positive standpoint, globalization has provided access to cheaper commodities, the opportunity for perfect competition, and the ability for US-based companies to expand markets.  However, globalization has caused many Americans to lose their jobs to companies in other countries, specifically China and India.  Given the increased competitiveness within economic development, a trend called regionalism has evolved as a popular defense mechanism.  Of course, there have been more motivating factors to regionalism than just globalization. 

For instance, the budget cuts that have run rampant through many economic development organizations have encouraged regionalism.  Tighter budgets have caused many organizations to consolidate, sharing resources and energy in their marketing strategies to form a regional organization.  Below is short list consisting of some of the major benefits of regionalism:

  1. Streamlines planning
  2. Saves time, money and resources
  3. Broadens access to a wider range of workforce and educational solutions
  4. Increases cost effectiveness and efficiency
  5. Consolidates government
  6. Unifies planning and leadership

There really is no uniform way to compose a regional organization.  The organization should be based upon the needs of the area and not on the exact replication of other organizations.  Many different variables should be considered, such as purpose, goals, objectives, size and area.  What works in one region may not be ideal in another.  However, seeing how government, leadership, housing, fiscal policy and planning work for other regional organizations may give you bright ideas about how to integrate the regional approach in your own area.

Below are some sources reports that were reviewed for this article. 

Regionalism: An Economic Driver, Northern Illinois University (

Competitive Regionalism: Beyond Individual Competition, Linda McCarthy


Multi-Region Economic Development Strategy Guide (