Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



The Mississippi Delta, as defined by the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), is an area of historical and present deprivation. Persistent poverty, lackluster economic development opportunities, and the associated ills of this environment exist alongside large-scale, subsidized agriculture. These federal subsidy payments are criticized for increasing the wealth of corporate enterprises rather than stabilizing the family farmer for whom they were created. This dissertation examines the geography of agristructure, subsidies, and socio-economic characteristics in the Delta with the purpose of identifying spatial relationships among these three variables. Drawing from the Goldschmidt Hypothesis, this research proposes that areas of large-scale agristructure will also be areas of high subsidy income and of poor community well-being as measured by social and economic indicators. Local Indicators of Spatial Autocorrelation (LISA) are employed with correlation and interviews in order to identify the patterns of deprivation associated with agriculture and to understand variation in this geography within the region. With this information, hopefully policymakers will recognize the inefficiency wrought from the traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach to economic development in the region. The Delta will not effectively move forward without acknowledgement of agriculture’s role in both its wealth and deprivation and of understanding the region’s true diversity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Craig E. Colten