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Keywords:

  • locality;
  • community;
  • local dependence;
  • local business coalitions;
  • local politics;
  • local economic development;
  • economic restructuring

Abstract Concomitant with the contemporary restructuring of local economies in the United States has been a distinctive local politics: one which revolves around a competition among localities rather than conflict with in them. The role of the local dependence of various actors is explored with a view to explaining this politics. Some firms are locally dependent and form business coalitions to stimulate investment in their local economy. They attempt to harness the powers of local government, which are susceptible as a result of their own local dependence. Subsequent local economic development programs often pose threats to people in their workplaces and living places and elicit opposition. To overcome this opposition, business coalitions attempt to promulgate a shared interest in a local community. This interest is extended to include threats to the local community implied by the economic development programs of business coalitions elsewhere. The local dependence of people makes them receptive to this argument.