Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Regional Research Institute

Document Number



Regional Research Institute


Appalachia is a region that has undergone notable socio-economic change over the last twenty years. This change has produced communities of socio-economic “winners” and “losers.” In this paper, I attempt to understand why some communities 'won'and others 'lost'during this period using an analysis informed by two key sociological theories at the opposite end of the structure-agency continuum (new urban sociology, human ecology). The analysis combines shift-share analysis and the Land-Deane two-stage least squares technique for spatial effects to predict earnings change related to local industry mix and county effects for the following business cycles: 1980-82 recession, 1983-88 recovery, 1989-92 recession. The analysis shows that measures from both theoretical perspectives are important, but neither dominates (unlike in previous analyses). Implications for current/future theory and research are discussed.