IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How Specialized is “too” Specialized? Outmigration and Industry Diversification in Nonmetropolitan Counties across America


  • Jackson, Ashley
  • Whitacre, Brian E.


Outmigration and industrial composition have separately been the focal points of a significant amount of research related to nonmetropolitan counties; however, few (if any) studies have explicitly looked at the relationship between the two topics. The primary objective of this research is to identify what industry specialization level is “too” specialized with regards to outmigration – that is, to determine the level where specialization begins to have a damaging effect on population change. County-level data from a variety of sources is used to explore the impact of both earnings-based and employment-based definitions of specialization on net migration in nonmetropolitan counties from 2000 – 2009. Two distinct techniques (ordinary least squares and average treatment effects) are then used to assess both the impact and causality of being “too specialized.” The results suggest that a variety of specialization thresholds exist across various industries, including some surprising positive influences of industry composition on migration rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Ashley & Whitacre, Brian E., 2012. "How Specialized is “too” Specialized? Outmigration and Industry Diversification in Nonmetropolitan Counties across America," 2012 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2012, Birmingham, Alabama 119739, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:saea12:119739

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diamond, Charles A & Simon, Curtis J, 1990. "Industrial Specialization and the Returns to Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 175-201, April.
    2. Smith, Stephen M. & Gibson, Cosette M., 1988. "Industrial Diversification In Nonmetropolitan Counties And Its Effect On Economic Stability," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 13(02), December.
    3. Mahasuweerachai, Phumsith & Whitacre, Brian E. & Shideler, Dave W., 2010. "Does Broadband Access Impact Migration in America? Examining Differences between Rural and Urban Areas," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 40(1), pages 5-26.
    4. Attaran, Mohsen, 1986. "Industrial Diversity and Economic Performance in U.S. Areas," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 44-54, July.
    5. Kenneth Johnson & Paul Voss & Roger Hammer & Glenn Fuguitt & Scott Mcniven, 2005. "Temporal and spatial variation in age-specific net migration in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(4), pages 791-812, November.
    6. Richard Bilsborrow & Thomas McDevitt & Sherrie Kossoudji & Richard Fuller, 1987. "The impact of origin community characteristics on rural-urban out-migration in a developing country," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(2), pages 191-210, May.
    7. Edward Nissan & George Carter, 2006. "The measurement of employment diversity for states and regions," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 30(2), pages 186-197, June.
    8. McGranahan, David A. & Cromartie, John & Wojan, Timothy R., 2010. "The Two Faces of Rural Population Loss Through Outmigration," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Outmigration; Nonmetropolitan; Industrial Specialization; Industrial Diversification; Community/Rural/Urban Development;

    JEL classification:

    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:saea12:119739. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.