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Growth poles refer to a grouping of firms or an industry that generates expansion in an economy. Economic growth from a lead or propulsive firm or industry induces growth in other firms or sectors of an economy through agglomeration—or positive external—economies. Growth poles are at once a theory of development and a regional development strategy or policy application.

As many in the development planning literature have noted, the origin of the growth pole had little to do with geography per se and certainly not with regional development. Nonetheless, growth poles— and its related term, growth centers—played a major role in regional development policies in the 1950s and 1960s. Across developing countries, growth poles or growth centers were targeted as places to concentrate public investment to promote ...

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