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Using Economic Base Models to Explain New Trends in Rural Income

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The economics or urban and rural areas in the United States continue to experience change in their structure, leading to changes in their economic base. This paper argues that nontraditional sources of income, employment, and business activity have become more important in the economic base of rural areas. Current trends in rural parts of the western United States are used to document this argument. In spite of the decline in the relative or absolute important of traditional natural-resource-oriented industries in the rural West, in the 1990s this region is experiencing population growth rates well above those of the nation as whole. This reversal of development experience from the 1990s is analyzed empirically, and extended economic base models are proposed to capture forces which now are found to be of growing significance in explaining current development trends in western rural economics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Washington, Seattle

Publication date: June 1, 1998

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