Webinar on Building (‘Left Behind’ Places) Back Better?

The first EPRC webinar of the 2024 Winter-Spring semester was held on 14 February (11:00 – 12:00 UK) over Zoom, with Grete Gansauer (Montana State University) presenting on “Building (‘left behind’ places) Back Better? Implications of Bidenomics’ place-based policy redux for distressed US regions”.

Growing regional inequality problems in the Global North call for spatial policy corrections. While the UK and EU have strong regional policy traditions, only recently has the US re-embraced place-based and place-sensitive policy solutions to regional and social inequalities. In the first two years of the Biden administration, the 117th US Congress authorized 37 place-based economic development programs, accounting for roughly $86 billion in spending.

Gansauer will present empirical findings from a comparative programme theory analysis and will discuss trends in the motivation, intervention logic, and aims of place-based industrial policies of the Biden Administration. She finds that the place-based pillars of the Bidenomics agenda generally reinforce agglomerative tendencies of nationally important technology sectors, and thereby, position regional economies with existing anchor institutions and latent labour market potential to benefit chiefly. This leaves extant problems in distressed and peripheral regions—e.g., chronic and racialised infrastructure deficits, capital flight, fiscal and demographic pathologies of the local state, fractures in foundational economy sectors—relatively under-corrected in Bidenomics’ place-based policies.

In this webinar, Gansauer will explore policy theory, substance, and technical reforms which will be necessary to improve spatial policy’s diffusion at the margins and, thus, its efficacy in correcting geographic uneven development.


Grete Gansauer is a US Department of Agriculture Predoctoral Fellow and a PhD candidate in Geography at Montana State University interested in regional development policy and infrastructure in peripheral regions and ‘left behind’ places. Her dissertation research examines the extent to which Biden Administration’s place-based industrial policies address infrastructure and economic development needs in distressed and rural US regions. In 2023, she was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington DC, and she is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge.


Gansauer’s presentation can be accessed here, and the webinar recording can be viewed on the EPRC’s YouTube page here.

You can read more about the webinar from participant Charlie Wood’s blog post here.

Future EPRC webinars will delve into sustainability, regional policy and development topics.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter, European Policies Research Centre on LinkedIn, or register for our webinar mailing list via marina.murray@strath.ac.uk.

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