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Reexamining Rural Decline: How Changing Rural Classifications and Short Time Frames Affect Perceived Growth

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  • Artz, Georgeanne M.
  • Orazem, Peter F.

Abstract

Beale codes are an important tool for examining rural urban differences in socioeconomic trends. However, as population changes, counties’' designations also change over time. This feature of Beale codes is commonly overlooked by researchers, yet it has important implications for understanding rural growth. Since the fastest growing counties grow out of their rural status, use of the most recent codes excludes the most successful rural counties. Average economic performance of the countries remaining rural significantly understates the true performance of rural counties. This paper illustrates that choice of Beale code can alter conclusions regarding the relative speed of rural and urban growth across a variety of commonly used social and economic indicators. The bias can alter conclusions regarding the magnitude and even the sign of factors believed to influence growth. Most strikingly, the estimated impact of human capital on rural growth is completely reversed when the sample is based on end-of-period rather than relative growth across counties can also yield misleading inferences. Therefore, both academicians and policy-makers must be careful to use appropriate Beale code designations and time frames in evaluating prescriptions for rural growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI with number 19408.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea05:19408

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Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development;

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  1. Tzu-Ling Huang & Peter F. Orazem & Darin Wohlgemuth, 2002. "Rural Population Growth, 1950–1990: The Roles of Human Capital, Industry Structure, and Government Policy," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 615-627.
  2. Stephan J. Goetz & Anil Rupasingha, 2002. "High-Tech Firm Clustering: Implications for Rural Areas," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1229-1236.
  3. Maddison, Angus, 1983. "A Comparison of Levels of GDP Per Capita in Developed and Developing Countries, 1700–1980," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 27-41, March.
  4. George W. Hammond & Eric Thompson, 2004. "Employment Risk in U.S. Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Regions: the Influence of Industrial Specialization and Population Characteristics," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 517-542.
  5. Richard W. Martin, 2004. "Spatial Mismatch and the Structure of American Metropolitan Areas, 1970-2000," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 467-488.
  6. Mitch Renkow, 2003. "Employment Growth, Worker Mobility, and Rural Economic Development," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 503-513.
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