Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



It is well known that an amenity is a key driving engine to regional economic growth. However, the site-specific nature of an amenity can characterize them as public goods. Due to this characteristic, local governments have difficulty optimally supplying amenities. This dissertation tries to find relationships between an amenity and economic growth. Three empirical papers comprise the original research in this dissertation. The findings of the meta-analysis in the first essay suggest little methodological diversity exists among researchers linking amenities to economic growth., I do find that employment growth is more likely related to man-made amenities even in research on rural areas than natural amenities. Further, incorporating spatial estimators into amenity research improves modeling performance while reducing the net impact of amenities on economic growth. The second essay indicates a distinctive distribution between man-made amenities and natural amenities over counties of the United States. While man-made amenities are agglomerated in urban areas, natural amenities show heterogeneous dispersion. Both agricultural land and conservation land show an inverse relationship to man-made amenities across space. From an analysis using a local government’s public policy along with an areas’ physical attributes, I find government tax policy having the greatest effect on film location decisions with natural amenities having little impact. The third essay analyzed the impact of a tax incentive program targeted to film industries on local economies using a quasi-experimental approach. This last essay provided three findings. First, this chapter found meaningful methodological specifications that should be considered in regional studies using a quasi-experimental approach. They are appropriate consideration of control periods, spatial units of comparison, and validities of dummy variables representing extraneous shocks. Second, the impact of the film industry tax program on local economies is insignificant for most industries. Third, the influence of tax subsidy policy on local economies is limited to a central area but is not beneficial to its adjacent areas.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Fannin, James Matthew