Markusen / CONTRIBUTIONS OF BEN HARRISON
proceeded to develop a typology of these networks, illustrate them with a series of careful case studies, and fashion policy recommendations around their improvement and diffusion.
The qualities of Harrison’s work reviewed here constitute only a portion of his contribution to economic development. I have restricted my review to his work in and around regional economic development, where I think his influence has been remarkable, even though he would not have con- sidered himself primarily a regional planner. He also made substantial contributions in labor eco- nomics, minority economic development, and community development.
I have given short shrift to places where Harrison’s work showed lapses. He missed some phe- nomena of import: in New England, the potential of new technology, and service and finance sector growth, stimulated by a national regime of free trade and financial deregulation, for instance, or the role of in-migration via educational institutions of young well-educated people who then stay in the region. But overall, his work shows remarkable range and, much valued these days, flexibility.
Among Harrison’s enduring contributions to regional economic development, I would stress the following: his continued commitment to class, his refusal to shrink from analyses of power and conflict, and his honoring of historical evolution and particularity. Admirable, too, is his durable commitment to reformism, that is, to planning and policy recommendations that push the envelope as far as it is reasonable to go at the time and that encourage ongoing political and organizing efforts of the relatively weaker and disenfranchised against the more powerful. It is my own hope that gen- erations of students will continue to learn from his approach, fashioning their own economic devel- opment innovations from similarly astute and value-driven research and action.
1. By new regionalists, I refer to the work of Allen Scott (1998), Michael Storper (1997), and William Barnes and Larry Ledebur (1998), whose analytical frameworks concentrate on economic characterizations of metropolitan regions while suppressing actors, such as the state, capital, and labor, and avoiding politics and class conflict as shapers of regional econo- mies. Others, sometimes grouped under the rubric of the new regionalism, Myron Orfield (1997), for instance, offer excel- lent political analyses of changing metropolitan regions, connecting them to income and race differentials but not to capital, labor, or class. See also John Lovering (1998) and Ron Martin (1999) for two powerful critiques of the new regionalism.
Barnes, W., & Ledebur, L. (1998). The new regional economies: The U.S. common market and the global economy. Thou-
sand Oaks, CA: Sage. Bluestone, B., & Harrison, B. (1982). The deindustrialization of America. New York: Basic Books. Bluestone, B., Harrison, B., & Gorham, L. (1987). Storm clouds on the horizon. In H. Goldstein (Ed.), The state and local
industrial policy question (pp. 16-33). Washington, DC: Planners Press of the American Planning Association. Deitrick, S., & Harrison, B. (1994). The Pittsburgh transition: Planning for local economic development in a world of
change. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Affairs. Feser, E. (1998). Old and new theories of industrial clusters. In M. Steiner (Ed.), Clusters and regional specialization: On
geography, technology, and networks [Special issue]. European Research in Regional Science, 8, 18-46. Glasmeier, A., & Harrison, B. (1997). Why business alone won’t redevelop the inner city. Economic Development Quar-
terly, 11(1), 28-38. Harrison, B. (1982). The tendency toward increasing instability and inequality underlying the “revival” of the New England
economy. Regional Science Association/Papers and Proceedings, 50, 41-65. Harrison, B. (1984). Regional restructuring and “good business climates”: The economic transformation of New Eng-
land since World War II. In W. K. Tabb & L. Sawers (Eds.),Sunbelt-snowbelt: Urban growth and regional restructur- ing (pp. 48-96). New York: Oxford University Press. Harrison, B. (1989). Explaining plant closures in the U.S. by looking only at characteristics of localities: Exercises in
research futility. Environment and Planning A, 21(12), 1669-1673. Harrison, B. (1992). Industrial districts: Old wine in new bottles? Regional Studies, 26(5), 469-483.