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Economic status of rural America in the President Trump era explored in newly published Center research

Posted: February 23, 2018

A paper titled "The Economic Status of Rural America in the President Trump Era and beyond" was published this month in a special issue of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy and was authored by Center Director Stephan Goetz, Mark Partridge (Ohio State University), and Heather Stephens (West Virginia University). The special issue is a collection of papers around the theme “The Future of Agricultural and Applied Economics,” and is the culmination of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Agenda and Priorities initiative. The authors review the current economic conditions of rural America and the current literature, in order to set the stage for future research aimed at developing public policies that support economic prosperity in rural areas.
Image: USDA

Image: USDA

The paper is available here. 

Abstract: To set the stage for future research aimed at developing public policies that support economic prosperity in rural areas, we review the current economic conditions of rural America and the current literature. Rural America is often characterized as a uniform, distressed place where agriculture dominates. In fact, rural America is diverse, with many regions doing well economically. In some areas, labor-saving technologies have reduced the workforce in manufacturing and resource-dependent industries. However, integration with urban areas has weakened the economic divide between urban and some rural areas, while natural amenities have boosted the fortunes of others. There is also evidence that homegrown enterprises can support growth even in the most remote, distressed regions. To support economic growth, policies should recognize the unique features of each place or region and balance the farm sector with the larger nonfarm rural economy. Economists are well-positioned to provide research-based evidence of what works, as well as rigorous evaluation of new polices.