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Economic well-being and amenity resources development: an examination of resource-dependent nonmetropolitan counties in the Southwestern United States
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This study presents findings from an analysis of county-level data reflecting conditions in the nonmetropolitan southwestern U.S. in 1990. The ecological complex model (Duncan, 1959) is used to explore the relationship between natural resource dependence and levels of social wellbeing in these counties. The analysis employs a county-level typology, based on the ecological concept of sustenance organization, to determine counties NAth heavy economic dependence on their natural resource base. Natural resource-dependence types included in the analysis are agriculture, mining, forestry, recreation, tourism, and amenity retirement. A number of indicator variables are included to control for the effects of age, minority composition, and rurality on social well-being. Finally, interaction terms are added to determine the effects of amenity-centered resource dependence in counties with a higher representation of vulnerable populations. The study's dependent variable, social well-being, is measured using a number of economic indicators, including poverty level, unemployment, and welfare dependence. Principal component factor analysis is used to convert these three measures into a single composite indicator of economic distress.A regression analysis shows that each of the amenity-centered dependency types showed either a positive association (recreation dependence) or nonsignificant association (tourism and amenity retirement dependence) with economic distress. The results indicate that we must not assume that population growth and rising levels of employment are always associated with higher levels of social well-being. The analysis shows that increasing county are the strongest contributors to higher levels of economic distress in the region. The findings also indicate that tourism dependence is associated with lower family poverty in "I-Espanic" counties. Tourism dependence is also associated with lower levels of public assistance payments in "fespanic" counties. Thus, tourism development shows potential for improving social well-being in nonmetropolitan "Hispanic" counties in the region. On the other hand, the findings indicate a significant relationship between tourism and recreation dependence in "youth" counties and higher levels of economic distress. This relationship may result from lower levels of post-natal labor force participation and a high percentage of periphery service jobs in tourism and recreation economies.
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Includes bibliographical references: p. 104-121.
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Bergerson, Terry Ross (1997). Economic well-being and amenity resources development: an examination of resource-dependent nonmetropolitan counties in the Southwestern United States. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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