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Whither the American west economy? Natural amenities, mineral resources and nonmetropolitan county growth

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  • Dan S. Rickman

    (Oklahoma State University)

  • Hongbo Wang

    (Oklahoma State University)

Abstract

Although the American West has long experienced strong economic growth, variation in natural amenities and mineral resources across the West has produced a diversity of economic outcomes and trends. In this paper, we assess whether there have been recent significant shifts in economic growth across the nonmetropolitan counties of the region. We find significant relative downward growth shifts in areas most abundant in natural amenities. Further analysis suggests the downward growth shifts in high-amenity counties resulted from the capitalization of the amenities into housing costs, not from diminished quality of life in the counties from growth or climate change. Both the shocks and multipliers associated with mineral resource extraction shifted across the periods. The uncertainty surrounding future climate change adjustments and volatility of mineral resource extraction suggests the need for place-based policy to maintain economic vitality in the rural West.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan S. Rickman & Hongbo Wang, 2020. "Whither the American west economy? Natural amenities, mineral resources and nonmetropolitan county growth," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 65(3), pages 673-701, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:65:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s00168-020-00999-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s00168-020-00999-z
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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