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Newly published NERCRD research examines rural innovation, expansion of hop production, and community influence on longevity

Posted: March 14, 2020

Three recently published studies explore how often-overlooked innovation is taking place in areas not thought of as innovative; how the craft-beer boom is giving way to an unprecedented expansion of hop production; and, how community factors might influence longevity. The papers were published in Research Policy, Journal of Wine Economics, and Social Science and Medicine and were authored by researchers from NERCRD, the Korea Rural Economic Institute, West Virginia University, Michigan State University, and The University of Toledo.
Map showing latent innovation by U.S. county. Credit: Devon Meadowcroft, Penn State

Map showing latent innovation by U.S. county. Credit: Devon Meadowcroft, Penn State

Innovation is widespread in rural areas, not just cities

Conventional measures of innovation suggest that only big cities foster new ideas, but a more comprehensive measure developed at the Northeast Center shows that innovation is widespread even in rural places not typically thought of as innovative. This "hidden" innovation brings economic benefits to businesses and communities, according to researchers, whose findings will help decision makers think in new ways about innovation and how they can support it.

Craft-beer boom linked to record-number of US states growing hops

Craft breweries aren't just a fun place to meet up with friends. They may be fueling an unprecedented geographic expansion of hop production across the U.S., according to researchers at Penn State and The University of Toledo. Their findings suggest that as more craft breweries emerge around the country, so may new opportunities for farmers.

Community factors influence how long you’ll live, study shows

While lifestyle choices and genetics go a long way toward predicting longevity, a new study shows that certain community characteristics also play important roles. American communities with more fast food restaurants, a larger share of extraction industry-based jobs, or higher population density have shorter life expectancies, according to researchers from the Northeast Center and West Virginia and Michigan State Universities. Their findings can help communities identify and implement changes that may promote longer lifespans among their residents.