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Abstract

Attracting manufacturing investment remains a viable regional development policy. Previous research in the location literature has informed policymakers which factors are most important for attracting new firm investment. Far less is known about the dynamics of firm death and the possible interaction with firm birth. A conceptual model of county-level investment in the U.S. manufacturing sector is developed from location theory and subsequent literature. Specifically, we test the relative importance of location factors influencing firm investment, and if these factors influence firm birth and death differently. Local factors include labor quality, availability, and cost, market conditions, agglomeration due to localization and urbanization economies, infrastructure, and fiscal policy. This study covers the time period 2000 to 2004 for U.S. counties in the lower 48 states. Firm data are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Dynamic Firm Data Series, which links establishments across space and time. Regional adjustment models are used to show how ceteris paribus changes in location factors affect the birth and death rates in a county.

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