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The Economics of Ghost Towns

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  • Graves, Philip E.
  • Weiler, Stephan
  • Tynon, Emily Elizabeth

Abstract

The ghost towns of the American West are both intriguing historical artifacts and reflec-tions of unique economic forces at work. In this study we develop linked labor and housing market models balancing the wages, rents, and local amenities of isolated boomtown sites to better understand the sources of such communities’ dramatic cycles. High variance boom-towns provide a unique context for investment in housing and other foundational infrastruc-ture, leading directly to the unusually transient local development patterns seen in ghost town settings. We use Colorado-based case studies to illustrate the relevance of the model. Comparisons with more modern rural settings in Appalachia and the Midwest suggest that the model provides a framework to better understand the process of rural decline more generally.

Suggested Citation

  • Graves, Philip E. & Weiler, Stephan & Tynon, Emily Elizabeth, 2009. "The Economics of Ghost Towns," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 0(Issue 2), pages 1-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jrapmc:132433
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/132433/files/09-2-4.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roback, Jennifer, 1988. "Wages, Rents, and Amenities: Differences among Workers and Regions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 23-41, January.
    2. Graves, Philip E., 1979. "A life-cycle empirical analysis of migration and climate, by race," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 135-147, April.
    3. Stephan Weiler, 2001. "Unemployment in Regional Labor Markets: Using Structural Theories to Understand Local Jobless Rates in West Virginia," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 573-592, April.
    4. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
    5. Mueser Peter R. & Graves Philip E., 1995. "Examining the Role of Economic Opportunity and Amenities in Explaining Population Redistribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 176-200, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caviglia-Harris, Jill & Sills, Erin & Bell, Andrew & Harris, Daniel & Mullan, Katrina & Roberts, Dar, 2016. "Busting the Boom–Bust Pattern of Development in the Brazilian Amazon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 82-96.
    2. Devin Bunten & Stephan Weiler & Eric Thompson & Sammy Zahran, 2015. "Entrepreneurship, Information, And Growth," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 560-584, September.

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    Keywords

    Community/Rural/Urban Development;

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