Determinants of Rural Self-Employment

The Determinants of Rural Self-Employment: Insights from County-Level Data

Stephan J. Goetz and Anil Rupasingha

First published October 2011

The sustained surge in rural self-employment since 2000 has largely gone unnoticed by policymakers and rural economic developers. Here we document this increase and identify variables associated with expanding self-employment using county-level data. Our regression analysis draws largely on two previous studies, which we update and refine by using more nuanced measures of rural. Results provide mixed evidence about the importance of capital access to self-employment growth but reveal that different policies are needed in rural counties depending on their proximity to metro areas and overall population size if the goal is to increase future rural self-employment rates.

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