Regional economic change in the Northern Forest: An empirical examination

Date of Completion

January 2002






The Northern Forest, an 18-county region situated in northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, has experienced significant structural shifts in its economy over the past three decades. Globalization, the flight of timber companies from the region, increasing capital intensity in the primary sector, and an increase in tourism and recreation within the Northern Forest have all facilitated this recent economic change. Population, employment, and income changes within the Northern Forest are documented from 1971 to 1996 at both the county and regional levels. A number of possible determinants of this change, including initial conditions, age composition of population, social capital, human capital expenditure, infrastructure, relative location, environmental characteristics, environmental characteristics accessibility, and both state policy and temporal effects, are investigated with respect to magnitude and direction of impact. In general, relative location played an important role in recent economic change within the Northern Forest. In addition, environmental amenities, both on their own and in interaction with highway accessibility, have been important factors influencing recent economic change within the region. ^