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Does Agriculture Generate Local Economic Spillovers? Short-run and Long-run Evidence from the Ogallala Aquifer

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  • Richard Hornbeck
  • Pinar Keskin

Abstract

Agricultural development may support broader economic development, though agricultural expansion may also crowd-out local non-agricultural activity. On the United States Plains, areas over the Ogallala aquifer experienced windfall agricultural gains when post-WWII technologies increased farmers' access to groundwater. Comparing counties over the Ogallala with nearby similar counties, local non-agricultural sectors experienced only short-run benefits. Despite substantial persistent agricultural gains, there was no long-run expansion of local non-agricultural sectors and there are some indications of crowd-out. With the benefit of long-run historical perspective, supporting local agricultural production does not appear to generate local economic spillovers that might justify its distortionary impacts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18416.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18416

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  1. Greenstone, Michael & Hornbeck, Richard A. & Moretti, Enrico, 2010. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Winners and Losers of Large Plant Openings," Scholarly Articles 11185831, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser & William R. Kerr, 2007. "What Causes Industry Agglomeration? Evidence from Coagglomeration Patterns," Harvard Business School Working Papers 07-064, Harvard Business School.
  3. Barrett E. Kirwan, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Agricultural Subsidies on Farmland Rental Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(1), pages 138-164, 02.
  4. Richard Hornbeck, 2009. "The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short and Long-run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe," NBER Working Papers 15605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Vogel, Stephen J, 1994. "Structural Changes in Agriculture: Production Linkages and Agricultural Demand-Led Industrialization," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 136-56, January.
  6. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2011. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 593-650.
  7. Hornbeck, Richard A., 2012. "The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short- and Long-Run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe," Scholarly Articles 11303325, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2005. "Did New Deal Grant Programs Stimulate Local Economies? A Study of Federal Grants and Retail Sales During the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(01), pages 36-71, March.
  9. Richard Hornbeck, 2010. "Barbed Wire: Property Rights and Agricultural Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 767-810, May.
  10. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  11. Hornbeck, Richard A., 2010. "Barbed Wire: Property Rights and Agricultural Development," Scholarly Articles 11185832, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Richard Hornbeck & Pinar Keskin, 2011. "The Evolving Impact of the Ogallala Aquifer: Agricultural Adaptation to Groundwater and Climate," NBER Working Papers 17625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Thobani, Mateen, 1997. "Formal Water Markets: Why, When, and How to Introduce Tradable Water Rights," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 161-79, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Paula Bustos & Bruno Caprettini & Jacopo Ponticelli, 2012. "Agricultural productivity and structural transformation. Evidence from Brazil," Economics Working Papers, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra 1403, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2013.
  2. Severnini, Edson R., 2014. "The Power of Hydroelectric Dams: Agglomeration Spillovers," IZA Discussion Papers 8082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Arthur Grimes & Sean Hyland, 2013. "Passing the Buck: Impacts of Commodity Price Shocks on Local Outcomes," Working Papers, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research 13_10, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

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