Patterns in Local Economic Development in Light of COVID-19





Citation of Original Publication

Johnson, Brad A. M., Darrin Wilson, Eric Stokan, and Michael Overton. “Patterns in Local Economic Development in Light of  COVID-19.” State and Local Government Review, (May 2022).


© The Author(s) 2022 Use is restricted to non-commercial and no derivatives



The COVID-19 pandemic pressured local governments to employ creative and untested economic development strategies to stabilize private businesses. To explore how the uncertainty of the pandemic impacted the priorities and strategies of economic development officials, we surveyed officials about their initial economic development response to the pandemic coupled with subsequent in-depth interviews in the Cincinnati metropolitan region. Our analysis suggests that local officials did not drastically alter their use of supply-side tools during the pandemic. However, they did start coupling supply-side with demand-side policies in unique ways compared to past economic crises. This study also finds that the pandemic affected collaboration processes, leading officials to deepen and forge relationships with other local governments. We find that these shifts have proven durable over the past year as municipalities continue to grapple with changing economic conditions due to COVID-19. As additional waves are likely, we suggest that administrators must consider the skills required to manage evolving economic conditions as well as both the supply and demand sides of local economic development.