Metropolitan Statistical Area Designation: Aggregate And Industry Growth Impacts
The federal Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) periodic release of updated metropolitan statistical area (MSA) definitions frequently garners significant attention from local economic development professionals and policymakers. The interest is grounded, in part, in the common belief that the designation of a region as a new MSA will spur its subsequent growth. The purpose of this paper is to test the hypothesis that the MSA designation influences local growth, using Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designations released since 1980 and data on per capita personal income, population, and employment. Based on results from several methods, including quasiexperimental matching, we find little evidence that the MSA designation has a significant impact on long-term employment or per capita income growth. However, we do find some evidence in favor of a short-run impact on aggregate employment growth and more significant impacts on population growth. We disaggregate employment and find significant short-run impacts on transportation and utilities; retail trade; and government. We find longer-term impacts on services and finance, insurance, and real estate employment growth
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