Road to Despair and the Geography of the America Left Behind

President Trump’s election highlights US economic disparities, especially in rural America. This study assesses 21st century economic conditions to identify broad forces underlying the uneven economic performance of US counties, stressing factors that may be important for lagging regions. We examine the effects of three groups of variables (economic, social/demographic, and geography) on job growth, poverty, and median income. To this end, we split the time period before and after the Great Recession and use standard regression analysis augmented by quantile regressions to assess the heterogeneity in economic performance. The results suggest an increasing role played by economic factors including the benefits of having a fast-growing industry structure. Perhaps more importantly, measures of economic dynamics—the ability of a local economy to “rewire” by reallocating resources in response to economic shocks—emerge as important predictors of performance.

Issue Date:
Dec 15 2017
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:

 Record created 2017-12-22, last modified 2018-01-22

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