Michael D. Wilcox

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States

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Publications (14)1.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Global food demand requires that soils be used intensively for agriculture, but how these soils are managed greatly impacts soil fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Soil management practices can cause carbon to be either sequestered or emitted, with corresponding uncertain influence on atmos-pheric CO2 concentrations. The situation is further complicated by the lack of CO2 flux measurements for African subsistence farms. For widespread application in remote areas, a simple experimental methodology is desired. As a first step, the present study investigated the use of Bowen Ratio Energy Balance (BREB) instrumentation to measure the energy balance and CO2 fluxes of two contrasting crop management systems, till and no-till, in the lowlands within the mountains of Lesotho. Two BREB micrometeorological systems were established on 100-m by 100-m sites, both planted with maize (Zea mays) but under either conventional (plow, disk-disk) or no-till soil man-agement systems. The results demonstrate that with careful maintenance of the instruments by appropriately trained local personnel, the BREB approach offers substantial benefits in measuring real time changes in agroecosystem CO 2 flux. The periods where the two treatments could be compared indicated greater CO2 sequestration over the no-till treatments during both the growing and non-growing seasons.
    Open Journal of Soil Science 03/2014; 4(4):87-97. DOI:10.4236/ojss.2014.43012
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    ABSTRACT: State programs promoting agricultural products have proliferated in response to increased consumer interest in locally grown foods. Tennessee, for example, currently has two state-sponsored programs promoting Tennessee agricultural products. This study examines the factors associated with fruit and vegetable farmer participation in these programs using mean comparisons and bivariate probit regression. Results suggest that farmer participation in these programs was associated with operation size, percentage of income from farming, percentage of annual sales from fresh produce, and attendance to University Extension educational events. These results should interest individuals attempting to increase producer participation in these types of programs.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent developments in firm location analysis are applied to explore the concentration patterns of firms making up the green energy sectors in 2002 and 2006. A two-step procedure is applied in this analysis. First, Guimarães, Figueiredo, and Woodward’s spatial adaption of Ellison and Glaeser’s industry concentration index are applied to estimate the degree to which firms making up the so-called green energy sectors tend to exhibit concentration. In the second stage, the spatial distribution of concentration is analyzed using a statistical framework, also suggested by Guimarães, Figueiredo, and Woodward. Preliminary results suggest that green energy subsectors exhibit significant global concentration, but localized concentration appears to be random.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes the geographic distribution of “green energy” sector clustering in the lower 48 United States using recent developments in industry concentration analysis. Evidence suggests that the ten green energy subsectors and the aggregate of the firms comprising the green energy sector are regionally concentrated. Positive changes in industry concentration from 2002 to 2006 tended to be greatest in non-metropolitan counties, suggesting comparative advantage with respect to site location for the composite of firms making up these sectors.
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Entrepreneurship has received an increasing amount of attention among researchers, economic development professionals, policymakers and local government officials, as the singular emphasis on industrial recruitment broadens to a more comprehensive strategy that encompasses business creation, retention and expansion (Walzer, 2007 and Acs and Armington, 2006). Concurrently, entrepreneurs continue to play an ever more important role in Tennessee's economy. Though defined and measured in many different ways, entrepreneurs generated more than $23 billion (in the form of total nonfarm proprietor income or $31,693 per nonfarm proprietor) or 12 percent of total personal income in Tennessee. This constituted 84 percent of all Tennessee employer firms (in the form of firms with fewer than 20 employees) and made up nearly 20 percent of Tennessee's 3,724,901 total full-time and part-time jobs in 2006 (Table 1). 1 These statistics suggest the importance of entrepreneurs to the Tennessee economy and the lives of Tennesseans. But, by one measure, Tennessee recently experienced the fourth largest decrease in entrepreneurial activity in the United States during the last decade (Fairlie, 2007) 2 . And though agreement that economic development is more likely with a multifaceted strategy that goes beyond one-dimensional industrial recruitment is solidifying, consensus on promoting economic growth by creating and sustaining a supportive environment for entrepreneurs needs to be reached. The literature suggests that such an environment is composed of social capital (climate of inclusiveness and flexible networks), human capital (skilled and creative workforce, access to education/training, etc.), natural and cultural capital (amenities that enhance quality of life), political capital (government and community institutions that are willing to work collaboratively towards fostering entrepreneurship through resource acquisition and allocation) in addition to the traditional orientation towards financial and built capital (infrastructure) (Flora and Flora, 2007). Conversely, these broad 'environmental' factors could have positive spillover effects on other local economic development strategies and not simply favor a myopic focus on entrepreneurship, which could elicit unintended consequences (Shane, 2008).
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    ABSTRACT: The aging population of the United States has long been a subject of debate and inquiry for development planners, policy makers, and researchers. The doubling of the population of Americans older than 65 since 1960 (while the population younger than 65 has grown by only one half) (Fuguitt et al. 2002), has prompted interest in their effect on the economies in which they live (Serow 2003) and their potential as a resource for rural economic development (Fagan 1988; Fagan and Longino 1993; Reeder 1998). Interest in these issues intensified as the baby boomer generation approached retirement age. The retirement of this age cohort is likely to have profound effects on the nation and its economy as this cohort is not only much larger than previous age cohorts, but also healthier and wealthier due to economic growth and advances in the quality of healthcare. Older Americans increasingly have the means and the motivation to migrate to a different area upon retirement. For example, it is estimated that over the next 18 years, approximately 400,000 retirees each year – with an average of $320,000 to spend on a new home – will choose to relocate beyond their state borders (Vestal 2006). The South and West have been and continue to be popular destinations for these migrants (Serow 2001; He and Schachter 2003), although more are choosing to locate outside of the traditional retirement areas of Florida and Arizona (Vestal 2006). One driving force of this shift is the “halfback” phenomenon in the Southeast where retirees who had previously migrated to the coast are returning halfway back to their ancestral homes by relocating to areas such as the Southern Appalachian mountain regions of eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and northern Georgia (Park et al. 2007). Further, later-life migrants are frequently settling in rural places or small towns (Fuguitt et al. 2002). For example, in 2000 a half million more persons above 60 moved into non-metro counties than out of them (Beale 2005). These trends beg the question of how the recent in-migration of older Americans is affecting local economies, particularly in rural areas where the marginal effect of in-migration may be proportionally greater than in more populous urban areas.
    12/2009: pages 381-403;
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of migrating seniors on the provision of local public services in rural communities is growing in importance because of the large number of retiring baby boomers and the increasing rate at which these retirees are locating outside traditional retirement destinations. Some communities are optimistic about attracting and retaining retirees as an economic development strategy, but others are concerned that inmigrating seniors may be reluctant to support local public services, such as education, bringing with them "Gray Peril." This article attempts to clarify questions regarding the Gray Peril hypothesis and local ability and willingness to fund education in Tennessee, an increasingly popular retirement destination. To this end, county per pupil education expenditure growth is explained by growth trends in local property tax assessment and sales tax revenue, and migration patterns of the retirement-aged population from 1962 to 2002. Copyright (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..
    Growth and Change 12/2009; 40(4):619-648. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-2257.2009.00503.x · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Industry cluster identification methods determine linkages between purchasers and suppliers at the county level for 447 economic sectors in Tennessee. Using an econometric model, the cluster analysis is extended to estimate which value chains contributed to economic growth between 2001 and 2006. Businesses making up the agriculture and forestry clusters enjoyed increased output per job in 34% and 32%, respectively, of Tennessee's counties. The spatial pattern of these findings was significant, suggesting that some counties may benefit from regional coordination of projects designed to enhance or retain businesses in these industry clusters.
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    ABSTRACT: Retiree recruitment is a burgeoning economic development strategy among rural communities despite uncertainty over whether later-life migrants will bring with them "Gray Gold" in the form of economic development or "Gray Peril" in the form of a reduced willingness to support the provision of local public services such as education. The results of a survey regarding support for a hypothetical increase in education funding in a rural, retirement destination county in Tennessee indicates that residents who migrated to the county at or after retirement were not less, but more, supportive of local education funding than other residents. The results also suggest that this support was motivated by both altruism and self-interest. Previous experience in higher-funding jurisdictions was also a key factor in explaining migrant willingness to support increased expenditures. Finally, as a check on the validity of the survey instrument, a comparison is made between the aggregate survey results and the results of three county-wide referenda on school funding. (Contains 6 tables, 1 figure, and 11 footnotes.)
    12/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: The location of ethanol plants is determined by infrastructure, product and input markets, fiscal attributes of local communities, and state and federal incentives. This empirical analysis uses probit regression along with spatial clustering methods to analyze investment activity of ethanol plants at the county level for the lower U.S. 48 states from 2000 to 2007. The availability of feedstock dominates the site selection decision. Other factors, such as access to navigable rivers or railroads, product markets, producer credit and excise tax exemptions, and methyl tertiary-butyl ether bans provided some counties with a comparative advantage in attracting ethanol plants.
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    Michael D. Wilcox, Philip C. Abbott
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    ABSTRACT: Structural adjustment in less developed countries has often mandated removal of state-run marketing boards to enhance efficiency in the marketing chain and to raise farm income. Concerns have been mounting about the negative side effects of cocoa market liberalization, including replacement of the parastatal by imperfectly competitive marketing institutions and the loss of public goods (e.g. research and extension). It is believed that the link of the supply chain closest to the farmgate may be the least competitive, as farmers in remote areas lack good market information and encounter relatively few buying agents. These concerns, especially related to domestic market competitiveness, have prompted governments, foreign donors and NGOs to promote farmer organizations in an effort to protect farmers (Rabobank, 2000; Baffes, et. al., 2003). The objective of this study is to estimate the degree of market power that exists at the farmgate and determine the efficacy of existing farmer groups to countervail this market power. In the case of cocoa, widely dispersed farmers create a challenge for those who wish to secure supply for export. If the market post-liberalization were characterized by perfect competition then margins should vary across space by differences in transaction costs that are determined by infrastructure conditions, distance to port or buying center, fuel prices, technology, and other costs that are incurred during transport. If private agents who now interface directly with farmers have the ability to exert monopsony power, then margins will also contain rents that allow part of the efficiency gains to accrue to the private intermediaries, and these may vary according to institutional relationships. Cameroon provides an opportunity to examine whether cooperatives provide a competitive yardstick that serves to countervail the market power exerted by local buyers and large traders on farmers since after liberalization farmer organizations have remained active to varying degrees across the country. To examine these issues, price transmission models that estimate the effect institutional forces have on the marketing margins that exist between the internal market (buying center) price and the farmgate price are developed using primary data from a survey performed in 2004. Our price transmission models for various cocoa producing regions in Cameroon attempt to capture intervening policy, institutional factors (e.g. cooperatives as buyers) and transactions costs. Results show that price transmission and so market integration between the port or buying center and the farmgate dissipates as product passes downstream, with significant regional variation. Institutional arrangements have a significant effect on the prices received by farmers. Infrastructure and market distance variables do not significantly affect market outcomes due to the hub-and-spoke nature of procurement at the farmgate and, in some regions, the captive supply nature of doing business. Market information, once provided by the government, is asymmetric in favor of the buyer, resulting in significantly lowers prices being received by farmers. Access to accurate and timely information often comes from membership in a farmer group. In addition, itinerant buyers exert market power against farmers who often do not have another outlet for their product. This power is also rooted in the inability of farmers to measure product quality at the farmgate, previous arrangements for credit and the tendency of itinerant buyers to demand a discount based simply upon the lack of other willing buyers. Institutional innovations of antiquated supply chain links, fostered by farmer organizations, may also reduce transactions costs currently contributing to low farm income. Marketing cocoa via farmer groups does appear to countervail buyer power but the results are sensitive to the transparency of the internal governance and regional institutional structure. Premiums are found for transactions involving farmer organizations in the center region where coops are most active and successful, and depend on how fees collected by the cooperative are treated. Farmer groups receive additional premiums associated with their capacity to aggregate production and control quality allowing buyers to gain from associated scale economies and limit quality-related risk.
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    Philip C Abbott, Michael D Wilcox, Wendi A Muir
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    ABSTRACT: Selected Paper prepared for presentation at the 15 th Annual World Food and Agribusiness Forum, Symposium and Case Conference, Chicago, Illinois, June 25-28, 2005 Funding for this research was provided by the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Yaoundé, Cameroon. The views expressed here remain the responsibility of the authors. Copyright 2005 by Philip C. Abbott, Michael D. Wilcox, Jr. and Wendi A. Muir. All rights reserved. Readers may make verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial purposes by any means, provided that this copyright notice appears on all such copies.
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of industry clusters is essential in the design and implementation of regional economic development strategies. Value chains establish and support the composition of industry clusters. By determining the sector composition of a value chain defining an industry cluster, more accurate information regarding recruitment of traditional value-added activities (such as manufacturing) or incubation of innovative endeavors (such as niche agricultural marketing or biotech firms) is possible. Our research applies new techniques suggested by Feser (2005), Feser, Sweeney, and Renski (2005), and Feser and Isserman (2007) to uncover linkages between purchasers and suppliers at the county and regional level for 447 economic sectors using IMPLAN data for Tennessee. We extend the cluster analysis to estimate the extent to which specific value chains contributed to economic growth between 2001 and 2006 (an important period spanning a brief recession) across Tennessee's 95 counties using an econometric model. County and regional comparative advantage is determined by testing whether the presence of a particular value chain in a given county contributed to increased labor productivity during this period, controlling for other local determinants of economic performance. The findings are important for local policy makers facing a bewildering array of decisions regarding small business retention and expansion, fostering entrepreneurship, or to execute campaigns to recruit larger firms. The methodology is appealing to researchers by combing nonparametric cluster analysis with recent advances in spatial econometrics.