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Economic Development Administration: Background and History

Tracey L. Farrigan and Amy K. Glasmeier

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This paper was produced as a part of the EDA and ARC Expenditures Analysis Project.

Excerpt: Regional development, particularly as it relates to business development and subsequent job creation in distressed areas, has been the focus of federal efforts for many years. The first federal agency charged with furthering regional economic development efforts was the Area Redevelopment Agency (ARA); its successor is the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Among the EDA's prime targets are traditional industrial regions experiencing the effects of technological change, degraded agricultural regions, and depleted mining locations. In order to maintain sufficient support in Congress, the criteria utilized by EDA in providing assistance have been broad. Given its limited resources, this encompassing locational mandate has presented a continual challenge for the agency.