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  • We are particularly grateful to Michael Storper, Charles van Marrewijk and Frank van Oort, the special issue editors, for their incisive comments to earlier versions of the manuscript. The comments and suggestions by two anonymous referees are also greatly appreciated. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose acknowledges the support of the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework working Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement n° 269868 and of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship. The research is also part of the Prociudad-CM programme and of the UK Spatial Economics Research Centre. An earlier version of the paper was presented at a seminar in Rotterdam.


ABSTRACT The paper examines the debates regarding place-neutral versus place-based policies for economic development. The analysis is set in the context of how development policy thinking on the part of both scholars and international organizations has evolved over several decades. Many of the previously accepted arguments have been called into question by the impacts of globalization and a new response to these issues has emerged, a response both to these global changes and also to nonspatial development approaches. The debates are highlighted in the context of a series of major reports recently published on the topic. The cases of the developing world and the European Union are used as examples of how in this changing context development intervention should increasingly focus on efficiency and social inclusion at the expense of an emphasis on territorial convergence and how strategies should consider economic, social, political, and institutional diversity in order to maximize both the local and the aggregate potential for economic development.