What Is National Economic Development?

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  • Written By: Kenneth W. Michael Wills
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Governments of nations have a key concern in stimulating and driving economics, by deciding national policy that strives for a healthy economy. National economic development, in the strictest sense, is the dedicated effort of national policy makers and the nation’s key economic contributors working to promote and maintain a set standard of economic health. Such efforts usually focus on key areas to include sustainability, competitiveness, social inclusion, education, infrastructure, human capital and health. Usually, the emphasis of national economic development is policy concerned with the well-being of citizens and residents, incorporating economic growth as just one aspect. To accomplish this, policy makers will often employ a diverse range of strategies impacting not only economic development, but also other aspects of national policy.


Policymakers will generally focus on a variety of methods in order to promote healthy national economic development. They are concerned with educational policy and how it impacts the nation’s literacy rate, human capital and talent base, and the research and development activities of universities. Business and investment policies are also a concern, as they usually make sure policy promotes entrepreneurship, attracts investment, builds infrastructure and encourages talent, both domestic and foreign. Additionally, policy makers will also concern themselves with regulatory compliance, legal policy and fiscal policy in an attempt to ensure a business-friendly environment free from corruption. Finally, policy makers are often involved in guiding policy that facilitates the invention process and aids inventors in getting their products to the market.

Before policy makers can make policy that promotes economic development, however, they must have the right information in order to make informed decisions. Empirical research, therefore, is at the center of national economic development. Sometimes policy makers engage in direct research themselves, though most of the time they will pour over available research and interview key subject-knowledge experts to understand how a potential policy might impact the economy and its social institutions. In addition, many nations have national economic development organizations, both public and private, which compile research focused specifically on topics that directly impact the economy.

Informed national economic development is an increasingly critical component to the well-being of a nation’s population. Arriving at a precise conclusion or even a solid estimate of a policy’s effectiveness is often extremely challenging. Given that there are many factors outside of policy that may impact a key part of economic development, policy makers will continually assess policy, in addition to researching and making new policy.


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