Does growth management matter? The effect of growth management on economic performance

Arthur C. Nelson, David R. Peterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Growth management attempts to improve the ordering of development to improve outcomes. To taxpayers, growth management promises more efficient delivery of public facilities and services. To developers, growth management promises more certainty. To citizen activists, growth management promises resolution of development problems in advance, instead of on an ad hoc basis. These promises are heroic. Nonetheless, even if only partly successful, communities engaged in growth management should out-perform other communities in overall economic output. This paper evaluates the economic performance of 182 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with 1990 populations between 100,000 and 500,000 over the period 1972 to 1992 with respect to presence or absence of growth management efforts such as urban growth boundaries, urban service limits, and state or regional oversight of local planning. We find a positive association between the presence of growth management and economic performance; communities engaged in growth management realized marginal improvements in economic performance relative to other communities, ceteris paribus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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