New RDC Economics Project

New Geographies for Reporting Establishment and Industry Dynamics in the United States

Richard A. Dunn, Brent Hueth

In this project we will use the Longitudinal Business Database, Standard Statistical Establishment List, and the Economic Census to create new geographies for reporting economic activity in the United States. By combining administrative data with publicly available information published by the Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture, we intend on generating three reporting typologies defined by 1) participation in the food-and-agriculture supply chain, 2) degree of urbanness in the location of operation, and 3) primary agricultural production activity in the location of operation. Once defined, we will pursue three major research aims. First, we will seek to characterize the economic contribution of non-farm, food-and- agriculture industries (FAI) in the United States. As the food-and-agriculture supply has become more complex and vertically disintegrated, current measures of value-added by farms have become increasingly poor at describing the importance of food and agriculture industries to the economy. Second, we will investigate how establishment and firm dynamics, increasingly recognized as an key driver of economic growth, differ between urban and rural areas of the United States. Identifying and explaining the sources of these differences is critical to developing policy that can address the widening gap in economic performance between urban and rural America.

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