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Tailored Place-Based Policies Are Key to Reducing Regional Inequality

Economist Timothy Bartik details the need for place-based policy to combat regional inequality and help distressed places—strategies outlined in his new book.
A view of the riverfront in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Appalachian Regional Commission has been working to support economically depressed areas in Appalachia.
A view of the riverfront in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Appalachian Regional Commission has been working to support economically depressed areas in Appalachia.Jason Cohn/Reuters

This is the second part of a two-part Q&A with economist Timothy Bartik. Read the first part here.

Earlier this week, we spoke with economist Tim Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research about his new book on economic development incentives. In that conversation, we covered the dramatic growth in incentives, the reasons incentives are an ineffective economic development tool, and how we might reign them in. Today, in the second installment of our conversation, we talk about another of Bartik’s core interests—the use of place-based policies—a more effective tool for helping distressed communities and addressing regional inequality. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.