The Role of Community Capital in Rural Renewal


The community capitals framework was developed as a way of evaluating community development efforts by taking stock of existing assets and examining how various types of capital are invested within a community. For rural communities with narrow prospects for dramatic, high-dollar development opportunities, the framework provides a promising alternative strategy, allowing communities to focus instead on the smaller, incremental approaches that can slow down economic decline and potentially lead toward sustainable renewal. In this paper, we use a wide assortment of publicly available data sources to quantify each type of capital across a study area of 1,442 counties in 17 states. We then employ a set of OLS regression models to estimate the relationship between community capital levels and county job creation rates from 2010 to 2019. Our results highlight a number of findings with implications for how rural counties may adjust their approach toward community development.

Working Paper
Andrew J. Van Leuven
Andrew J. Van Leuven
Assistant Professor of Community and Rural Development