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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of clusters of certified organic operations on county-level general economic indicators in order to assess the potential of organic clustering as an economic development tool. We first identify clusters of organic operations using the Local Moran’s I test statistic, which tests the null hypothesis of no spatial autocorrelation, and data from the National Organic Program and the U.S. Census. We then use these spatially defined clusters, as well as county-level data from publicly available sources such as the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the USDA’s Census of Agriculture, and the USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), to analyze the impact of clustering on county-level economic indicators. To do this, we use a treatment effects model in which the dependent variable is a county-level economic indicator and the treatment is being in a cluster of organic operations. For comparison, we also perform these analyses for general agricultural establishments.

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