The Economics of Ghost Towns

Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 131-140, 2009

10 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2010  

Philip E. Graves

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Stephan Weiler

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics

Emily E. Tynon

University of Colorado at Boulder

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

The ghost towns of the American West are both intriguing historical artifacts and reflections of unique economic forces at work. In this study we develop linked labor and housing market models balancing the wages, rents, and local amenities of isolated boomtown sites to better understand the sources of such communities’ dramatic cycles. High variance boomtowns provide a unique context for investment in housing and other foundational infrastructure, leading directly to the unusually transient local development patterns seen in ghost town settings. We use Colorado-based case studies to illustrate the relevance of the model. Comparisons with more modern rural settings in Appalachia and the Midwest suggest that the model provides a framework to better understand the process of rural decline more generally.

Keywords: ghost towns, hedonic analysis, wage compensation, rent compensation, boomtowns

Suggested Citation

Graves, Philip E. and Weiler, Stephan and Tynon, Emily E., The Economics of Ghost Towns (2009). Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 131-140, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1540770

Philip E. Graves (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309-0256
United States

Stephan Weiler

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

Emily E. Tynon

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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