Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 5–46

The United States as a Coastal Nation

  • Jordan Rappaport
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022870216673

Cite this article as:
Rappaport, J. & Sachs, J.D. Journal of Economic Growth (2003) 8: 5. doi:10.1023/A:1022870216673


US economic activity is overwhelmingly concentrated at its ocean and Great Lakes coasts, reflecting a large contribution from coastal proximity to productivity and quality of life. Extensively controlling for correlated natural attributes and initial conditions decisively rejects that the coastal concentration of economic activity is spurious or just derives from historical forces long since dissipated. Measuring proximity based on coastal attributes that contribute to either productivity or quality of life, but not to both, suggests that the coastal concentration derives primarily from a productivity effect but also, increasingly, from a quality of life effect.

economic growthpopulation densityproductivityquality of life

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan Rappaport
    • 1
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
    • 2
  1. 1.Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas CityKansas City
  2. 2.The Earth InstituteColumbia UniversityNew York