Kalamazoo: An Economic and Industrial History
Oesterle, Noah H.
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This project explores the economic and industrial history of Kalamazoo, from its founding in 1831 to today. The first sections of the paper explore the history of the city and the history of the specific industries which shaped the city and led to its development. The motivations of the individual players and the industries as a whole are also explored. Later sections use analytical techniques to explain why Kalamazoo evolved the way it did. It also explains why Kalamazoo was the only city with a population of over 50,000 to be completely debt-free following the Great Depression. Using the profit cycle model developed by regional economist Ann Markusen, the final section explains how the innovative nature of industry in Kalamazoo made the city so economically successful. The overall theme of the paper is that diversity of industry and innovation have been what has made Kalamazoo such an economic success throughout its history.