Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Author ORCID Identifier
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Elisabeth Hamin Infield
Erin D. Baker
Urban Studies and Planning
Wind power development has rapidly expanded in the United States. Much of this growth occurred in rural areas because of the availability of land and wind resources required to power turbines. The economic promise of wind power projects is particularly appealing for rural areas whose traditional economic base (typically agricultural) no longer supports as many households as it once did. Numerous studies have found that wind power projects have positive economic impacts on rural areas. What is less well understood is the effect of these wind power farms on other indicators of development, such as municipal services, demographic change, and quality of life. This dissertation examined the effects of wind power development on the economy, society, and community services in rural counties in the United States. The dissertation utilizes a mixed-methods approach, including both statistical analyses of secondary data, as well as the analysis of primary data collected through interviews.
I use two longitudinal data analysis models, mixed effect model and fixed effect model with a quasi-experimental approach, to measure the net economic and demographic impacts of wind development on rural counties. The primary data addressed the effects of substantial wind development on eleven rural counties when they hosted substantial wind farms over 1000 MW.
The results of the statistical analysis show a small significant effect of wind development on rural economies in term of increasing per capita income, median household income, farm income, and per capita employment. It also has a significant effect on decreasing the poverty rate.
Results of the primary data analysis show that wind power development increased the tax revenue of the rural community without any required public services or increases in population size of the rural communities. I find that counties with larger populations benefit more from wind development, particularly during the construction phase. Substantial wind development leads to an increase in municipal finances of rural counties. This increase has been reflected in improvements on the community services without any negative social impacts. Wind development is a suitable economic source to diversify the rural economy.
Shoeib, Eman, "The Influence of Wind Power on Rural Areas Economic, Demographic, and Community Services Impacts" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations. 1763.