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ComCap The Podcast

Apr 21, 2017

CCTP4 Big Game Hunting with Michael Shuman

A clear-eyed review of the past practices of going after big companies rather than developing local companies.
Michael Shuman takes a deep look at classic economic development strategies. He describes why shopping for big companies, competing against neighboring towns and paying for jobs, is a strategy that often results in a loss rather than a long term gain. This “attract and retain” policy costs time and money small communities can rarely afford.


Interviewer:  Amy Pearl, Hatch Innovation

Guests: Michael Shuman

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why “attract and retain” policies rarely result in the anticipated job gains.
  • Hear about Sarasota, Florida and what happened from their bid for a large pharmaceutical company
  • What a literature review of attract and retain strategies found.
  • The perception that outside money is essential to building local economic strength is a myth.
  • Every community is constantly importing outside goods and services for things that they are not producing for themselves, but could be.



“The Secret to Job Growth: Think Small,” by Edward L. Glaeser and William R. Kerr. Harvard Business Review, 2010.

“$137 Million Deal Got Away,” by Josh Salman. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Oct. 28, 2014.

Reining in the Competition for Capital, edited by Ann Markusen. W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2007.

Local Dollars, Local Sense, by Michael Shuman

Some of the Canadian Laws: