The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 649–670 | Cite as

Does rural broadband impact jobs and income? Evidence from spatial and first-differenced regressions

  • Brian WhitacreEmail author
  • Roberto Gallardo
  • Sharon Strover
Original Paper


In order to better understand the association between broadband and jobs/income in non-metropolitan counties, this study conducts spatial and first-differenced regressions using recent data from the Federal Communications Commission and the National Broadband Map. The relationships between broadband adoption/availability and jobs/income in rural areas are analyzed after controlling for a host of potentially influential variables such as age, race, educational attainment, transportation infrastructure, and the presence of natural amenities. Results from spatial error models using 2011 data provide evidence that high levels of broadband adoption in non-metro counties are positively related to the number of firms and total employees in those counties. The first-differenced regressions use data from 2008 and 2011 to suggest that increases in broadband adoption levels are associated with increases in median household income and the percentage of non-farm proprietors in non-metro counties. Interestingly, simply obtaining increases in broadband availability (not adoption) over this time has no statistical impact on either jobs or income.

JEL Classification

R11 O18 



This study was supported by the National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy (NARDeP) Center under USDA/NIFA Grant no. 2012-70002-19385.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Whitacre
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberto Gallardo
    • 2
  • Sharon Strover
    • 3
  1. 1.Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Mississippi State UniversityStarkvilleUSA
  3. 3.University of TexasAustinUSA

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