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The Rise and Fall of the Entrepreneurial State: The Case of Texas in the 1980s


This article examines the evolution of Texas economic de­ velopment policy during the 1980s as a movement toward, and subsequent undermining of, what Peter Eisinger termed "the entrepreneurial state." Based on interviews with economic development practitioners, the article ex­ plores the history and outcomes of the effort in Texas to shift policy attention and public resources towards small and medium-sized farms and businesses in non­ metropolitan areas. It concludes that entrepreneurial strategies have become institutionalized in state law and embedded in local practices. However, the leadership and innovative programs for direct intervention pursued in the

1980s fell victim to statewide politics and institutional con­ straints so that such strategies today are only a minor part of overall non-metropolitan development efforts in Texas.

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