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Regional economic impact assessment : factors influencing workforce mobility to regional mining towns
In a globalised economy, business, capital and population have opportunities to move from one region to another. Local regions face competition in attracting a suitable workforce, which is normally a key element to secure social and economic growth. An ability of a region to attract and retain appropriate businesses, capital and workers with their families is very important aspect of regional development. To enhance regional competitiveness, private and public organizations can consider investments in social infrastructure (e.g. hospitals), and in providing public services (e.g. education) to communities, that in turn provide the structural basis for economic activity and growth. The reason for this is simple. Both private and public investments in economic and social infrastructure result in economic and social return on investments. Public infrastructure reduces costs and increases productivity for private industry (Paul 2003). This is particularly relevant for economic infrastructure such as railways and ports, where provision allows new forms of trade and communication to florish. It is more difficult to establish the exact linkages between the provision of social infrastructure and economic productivity, although the general positive relationships between levels of health and education and workforce production are widely accepted (Schultz 1999). This is the ‘human capital’ argument that was developed by Adam Smith and has become important in explaining regional growth models (Chapman and Withers 2001, Eslake 2003).