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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Hornbeck & Pinar Keskin, 2012. "Does Agriculture Generate Local Economic Spillovers? Short-run and Long-run Evidence from the Ogallala Aquifer," NBER Working Papers 18416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18416
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N52 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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