Meat Packing and Processing Facilities in the Non-Metropolitan Midwest: Blessing or Curse?

Growth in the meat packing and processing industry in the Midwestern United States has generated a significant amount of debate regarding the costs and benefits of this type of economic development. This research employs 1990-2000 proprietary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Longitudinal Database (LDB) to investigate the effects of this industry on social and economic outcomes in non-metropolitan counties of twelve Midwestern states. The empirical specification uses a difference-in-differences specification to measure the effect of industry growth on local economic growth, government expenditures, and crime. Propensity score matching is used as a check on possible non-random placement of meat packing and processing plants. Results suggest that as the meat packing industry's share of a country's total employment and wage bill rises, total employment growth increases. However, employment growth in other sectors slows, as does local wage growth. There is some evidence that slower wage growth swamps the employment growth so that aggregate income grows more slowly. We find no evidence that growth in the industry changes the growth rates for crime or government spending.

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Selected Paper 135779

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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