Little Hoover Commission
First published November 2022
California is a center of innovation and home to world-leading enterprises. By some measures, California possesses the world’s fifth-largest economy. California’s economy is also, however, characterized by significant inequality and sizeable regional disparities.
In recent years, California has begun to take notable steps toward supporting regional approaches to economic development. New initiatives and emerging programs may provide a pathway toward addressing regional disparities and supporting inclusive development within regions. Yet it is important to note that the record for regional economic development efforts is mixed, with previous initiatives in California and elsewhere often failing to achieve their goals or provide inclusive growth.
As California’s independent oversight agency, the Little Hoover Commission assessed the nature and extent of current regional disparities within the state. It also examined state efforts to foster inclusive and sustainable regional growth, and how state government can best encourage and promote more equitable development.
In its report, the Commission calls on state government to do more to facilitate inclusive regional economic development, including by directing resources to regions that need them the most, investing in regional capacity, aligning funding and state programs to support regional development strategies, and ensuring that regions balance the goals of growth and inclusion.