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Abstract

Advanced technology use is less prevalent in rural than in urban manufacturing plants, but plants of comparable size in the same industry use about the same level of technology, regardless of urban/rural location. The rural gap comes about because the mix of rural industries is more heavily weighted with "low-technology" industries. Both rural and urban businesses rate inadequate worker skills as the most important barrier to use of new production technologies and management practices, while lack of knowledge is the chief barrier to use of telecommunications technology. Rural and urban businesses have similar access to technical assistance, skilled labor, and capital. Rural manufacturers report more problems with employee turnover and infrastructure than urban plants, but these are reported as minor problems by most businesses.

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