Competitive strategy and economic development : a regional case study - Atlantic Canada
This thesis examines how, in the global context of the 1990s, economic planning for an economically disadvantaged peripheral region within a small open national economy has become an exercise in the maxim 'Think Globally and Act Locally". It examines the content, context and process of economic policy making in Atlantic Canada in the 1990s. It critically analyzes the dissonance between generic visions of a competitive Atlantic Canada and the particular regional realities that must be taken into consideration if the plans are to be successful. The thesis also suggests a normative course of action in policy planning and implementation that can reduce this dissonance. The thesis is organized around four fundamental questions: 1) How is a competitive economy created in the global context of the 1990s and what roles should the state and the market assume. 2) What prescriptions for competitiveness are being presented in Atlantic Canadian economic policy documents. 3) What impediments and advantages does the Atlantic Canadian political-economy present to the realisation of this vision of a competitive economy. and 4) How can the economic policy planning and implementation processes be improved in order to better the chances of success for these kinds of policies. The critical analysis of the literature addresses the first three questions by surveying the areas of industrial policy, management theory, and Atlantic Canadian economic history and economic development planning. The fourth question is addressed through an empirical case study evaluation of Nova Scotia Voluntary Planning, a non-government sector organization composed of industry and labour leaders, and of its economic strategy document entitled "Creating Our Own Future". Theoretical and methodological guidelines for the evaluation models were drawn from the literature on policy research, cooperative inquiry, critical planning and critical evaluation theory, the role of mediating structures in public policy delivery and planning as social learning.