The Political Economy of U.S. Rural Policy: An Exploration of the Past with Strategies for the Future

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Paper explores three large questions: (1) Why has a coherent, successful policy addressing modern rural problems never been created in the U.S.? (2) What re the current obstacles to rural policy? (3) What possible strategies and coalitions might hold some future promise for developing a U.S. rural policy?

Researchers argue that there exists a need for a national rural policy of some sort after years of solely agricultural-focused policy. Researchers identify a lack of national interest groups with significant influenced focused around rural community issues as a primary answer to all three questions. Researchers provide characteristics of an institutional system for rural development that include: (1) a decentralized system of institutions, (2) a system with interactive linkages, (3) Decentralized decision making, (4) Consensual Decision Making, (5) Replication of Successful Innovation, (6) Societal Problem Solving and Knowledge Generation.

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