Theory, Methods and Public Policy
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller
Chapter 7: Amenities and Change in the Well-Being of Nonmetropolitan Localities
W. Richard Goe and Gary Paul Green INTRODUCTION A growing body of recent research has linked the presence of amenities in nonmetropolitan localities to changes in migration patterns and business location (Beale and Johnson 1998; Goe et al. 2003; Gottlieb 1994; McGranahan 1999). Overall the ﬁndings from this body of research suggest that nonmetropolitan localities that possess high levels of amenities have enjoyed an increase in their well-being. An examination of this literature, however, indicates that there has been little consistency in how the concept of amenities has been deﬁned and operationalized in empirical research. There is a need for a more comprehensive theoretical speciﬁcation of the processes by which amenities may exert causal inﬂuence on the process of rural development. The purpose of this chapter is to move toward this goal by: (a) providing a more comprehensive analysis of the concept of amenities, and (b) investigating how diﬀerent types of amenities are related to changes in the well-being of nonmetropolitan US localities in the 1980 to 2000 period. Deﬁning Amenities There is some ambiguity as to the deﬁnition of amenities. The concept has been used to refer to the climatic conditions found in nonmetropolitan areas (McGranahan 1999). It has also been used to refer to the available stock of natural resources such as forests, mountains, hills, lakes and rivers (English et al. 2000). Finally the concept of amenities has also been used to refer to the availability of opportunities for recreational activity (Beale...
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