Economic Development in a Global Economy: A Delphi Study of Economic Development Experts

Economic Development in a Global Economy: A Delphi Study of Economic Development Experts

Author: 
Scott A. Gibbs
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
Economic globalization and digital technologies are disruptive forces in local and regional economies. The mobility of capital assets is increasing as business seeks global strategic business alliances, access to foreign markets, and favorable operating cost advantages. Business and industry lifecycles are shortening as digital technologies are disrupting legacy business models. This global economic paradigm is challenging economic development efforts to attract private investment, grow jobs, and facilitate sustainable economic health in local and regional economies. As economic developers respond to these new economic contingencies, will they continue to embrace institutionalized strategies from earlier economic paradigms, or will they support strategies that respond to the new dynamics of this global and digital economy? This qualitative study investigated this question using the Delphi study method with a panel of economic development experts. An iterative series of three online surveys was administered with 30 Certified Economic Developers, including a round-one survey presenting an open-ended question to capture the opinions of study participants on strategies to promote economic development. Opinions that emerged from the round-one survey were presented to study participants in round-two and round-three online surveys with the goal of facilitating consensus. The study sought to answer whether the panel of experts agreed on traditional economic development strategies, or embraced new strategies to respond to contingencies of the global and digital economic paradigm.