Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Future of Appalachia

There are no direct flights from Los Angeles to Lexington, Kentucky. Next thursday, I will have the pleasure of flying through Houston as I try to get to Lexington. I will be participating in this conference on friday 10/2.

I am greatly looking forward to this event. Some excellent economists will be there and I'm eager to see some old friends of mine.

To quote the organizers;

"UKCPR will host Appalachia and the Legacy of the War on Poverty: A Research Agenda on Oct. 2, 8-4:15 p.m. in the Young Library Auditorium, UK campus. This conference will help UKCPR establish a research agenda to invesitgate policy solutions for persistent poverty in the region."

My paper discusses the challenges and opportunities for cities located within Appalachia. In a nutshell, I will argue that the last 30 years of urban economics has taught us that the key to urban growth is attracting and retaining the skilled.

I document that few skilled people move from outside of Appalachia to Appalachia's cities. So, the key for Appalachia is to retain their own skilled and to "grow more".

I argue that small, "green" consumer cities are the path to achieving this goal and point out an irony that the rise of carbon pricing and thus the acceleration of the decline in coal mining (dirty) activity will accelerate this trend. As usual, I will argue that there is a "green silver lining" to exiting the dirty sector, even though there are short run transition costs.

Please read my new paper.