Theory, Methods and Public Policy
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller
Chapter 9: Regional Economic Growth with a Focus on Amenities
Steven C. Deller, David W. Marcouiller, Donald B.K. English and Victor Lledo INTRODUCTION Natural amenities such as lakes, forests and mountainous areas along with built amenities that add value to those natural amenities, such as marinas, are becoming more important in explaining rural growth patterns (Deller et al. 2001; Fulton et al. 1997; Green 2001; Isserman 2000; Marcouiller et al. 2002; McGranahan 1999; OECD 1994; 1996; 1999; Power 1988). Both descriptive analysis (Beale and Johnson 1998; Johnson and Stewart (Chapter 11, this volume); McGranahan 1999; Nord and Cromartie 1997) and more advanced statistical modeling approaches (Deller et al. 2001; Goe and Green (Chapter 7, this volume); Rudzitis 1999) have found that rural areas that are endowed with amenities such as scenic beauty, wildlife and recreational and tourism attributes experience higher rates of growth than the US average. Among the ﬁrst to suggest that the presence of wilderness and large expanses of open space were an important reason why people moved to or lived in remote rural counties were Rudzitis and Johansen (1991). Not all studies support the notion that natural amenities have strong eﬀects on economic growth. Keith and Fawson (1995) examined the eﬀects of wilderness on local economic characteristics in Utah and found little statistical evidence supporting the central hypothesis. Duﬀy-Deno (1997) analysed the local economic impact of state parks in the eight intermountain Western states and found a relatively weak eﬀect on population and employment growth. In a related study Duﬀy-Deno (1998) also...
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