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Abstract

We estimate a system-of-equations model designed to measure the interaction between intertemporal patterns of changes in population, employment, and agricultural land densities. The model is applied to West Virginia for the 1990-1999 period. Consistent with recent findings on migration patterns, the results show that jobs followed people. New jobs were captured by commuters, while agricultural land losses were occurring in the commuters' counties of origin or bedroom communities. However, counties with relatively more profitable and concentrated agricultural enterprises were less susceptible to alternative land use pressure than counties with less productive or fragmented agricultural land. Elasticities indicate population change is elastic, whereas employment and agricultural land density changes are inelastic to factors affecting them. Growth management, when combined with agricultural land retention programs, may be most effective at preserving agricultural land in high growth or potential growth areas.

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