Analytic & Academic Programs

RUPRI Analytic and Academic Programs

One of the cornerstones of sound policy and a functioning democracy is sound information to help guide decisions at the community, regional/state, national, and international levels. From its inception, RUPRI has never strayed from its primary mission of relying upon a sound evidentiary base to help inform policy. As RUPRI moves forward it intends to further strengthen the analytic capacity upon which sound policy can be based. This strengthening includes both an internal and external component.

The RUPRI Analytic and Academic Programs initiative is based at the University of Missouri-Columbia and directed by Dr. Thomas Johnson, Frank E. Miller Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics. Associate Director is Dr. J. Matthew Fannin, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, Louisiana State University.


 Policy Brief :


Micropolitan America – A New and Critical Part of our Nation’s Geography RUPRI

Over one-half of the population of nonmetropolitan statistical areas of the United States live in a subset of nometropolitan geographies classified as Micropolitan areas. Over 27 million people live in these larger rural places, which are often anchor communities serving as regional hubs for commerce, employment and services. However, these areas are largely unexplored and under-studied and we may be missing key understandings of what factors drive and influence these regions. RUPRI intends to elevate the status and understanding of Micropolitan America through a series of forthcoming efforts. This introductory report, Micropolitan America: A New and Critical Part of the Nation’s Geography, lays out a brief overview of the salient features of Micropolitan America, presents an agenda for future work, and invites other practitioners, researchers and policymakers to engage with the effort.

See Press Release (pdf)

Analytic Panel Members

Dr. Sam Cordes, Professor and Associate Vice Provost, Emeritus, Center for Regional Development, Purdue University

Dr. Matthew Fannin, Associate Professor, Louisiana State University

Dr. Becca Jablonski, Assistant Professor and Food Systems Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University

Dr. Tom Johnson, Frank E. Miller Professor, Emeritus, of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri– Columbia

Dr. Paul Lewin, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho.

Dr. Bruce Weber, Professor, Emeritus, of Applied Economics and Director of the Rural Studies Program, Oregon State University

Dr. Emily Wornell, Assistant professor, Indiana Communities Institute, Ball State University

Poverty and Social Mobility

Analysis of trends and factors affecting poverty and social mobility is a major focus of RUPRI’s Analytic and Academic Programs, and is led by Dr. Bruce Weber, Professor of Applied Economics, Oregon State University. A recent analysis of poverty trends over 50 years was recently released by Dr. Bruce Weber and RUPRI Program Director Kathleen Miller. Analysis of Poverty Trends over 50 years (pdf) Additional research focus in this area include:

  • How have the determinants of high poverty changed over time in rural counties?
  • How have the determinants of exiting high poverty status changed over time in rural counties?
  • How have USDA Rural Development investments affected poverty rates in rural counties over time?
  • How do the same factors affect social mobility?

Rural Wealth Creation

RUPRI’s Analytic Programs focus on wealth creation in rural America, moving beyond tradtitional measures of success in rural economies to a triple bottom line approach to economic, community, and environmental indicators that represent more lasting well-being. RUPRI’s Analytic team was involved in the publication of a recent book entitled Rural Wealth Creation

Rural Wealth Framework Principles

  1. Well-being depends on the flow of benefits from our stocks of comprehensive wealth
  2. Comprehensive wealth includes financial, and built, natural, human, intellectual, social, political and cultural.
  3. Comprehensive wealth includes both private and public assets
  4. Comprehensive wealth considers negative and positive externalities
  5. Comprehensive wealth depends on the interaction among assets—substitutability and complementarity
  6. Interpersonal distribution of comprehensive wealth determines the distribution of income, and together they influence social mobility.
  7. People-based wealth is distinguished from, and related to, place-based wealth based on people’s property rights (ownership) of assets, and the mobility of assets
  8. Wealth differs spatially due to differences in place-based assets, and people’s preferences. Rural places differ from urban places especially due to differences in natural assets, population density, investments in built capital, and cultural differences.

Rural Wealth Book

Rural Wealth Creation Book Information (pdf)

A major effort of RUPRI’s Analytic Programs is the Spatial Analytics Initiative, led by Dr. Sam Cordes, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University. The Spatial Analytics Initiative focuses on evaluating how public investments in rural regions increase the prosperity, security, and equity of the nation.

Spatial Analytics Overview (pdf)

Other RUPRI Analytic Efforts

In 2012, RUPRI collaborated with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship on a Cooperative Agreement with USDA to understand Access to Capital Markets in Rural America. The following reports were generated from this work:

The American Community Survey, which replaced the Decennial Census Long Form, has many implications for use of data to analyze conditions and trends in rural America. RUPRI Program Director Kathleen Miller authored an article on this topic for the Association of Public Data Users. Read the Article for the Association of Publich Data Users (pdf) In 2008 the RUPRI Center for Regional Competitiveness completed an analysis of economic opportunities in a multi county region of southern Minnesota. The report examined current economic sectors, and potential areas for future growth in the region. Analysis of Economic Opportunities in Southern MN Report (pdf)