The fundamental thesis of this project is that local capitalism and civic engagement are associated with beneficial civic welfare outcomes. Previous research has shown that a civic community perspective has substantial promise as an alternative to neoclassical theories of development and change. Still, much remains to be done to improve measures of the key concepts of local capitalism, civic engagement, and civic welfare. This project will use facilities at the Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Bureau of the Census. It will expand coverage from rural small towns to metropolitan areas, allow measures at multiple points in time, and explore the use of decennial Census household microdata in the construction of measures of civic welfare and civic engagement. We also propose to expand measures of civic welfare to encompass local civic infrastructure, public safety, and public health. This will be done with Economic Census microdata and Center data on local governments, as well as exploratory work with population Census long-form microdata. To test the basic thesis, the investigators will develop a database on more than 6,000 cities and towns in the U.S. Within selected larger metropolitan areas, they will conduct exploratory analyses at the Census tract level, identifying civic spaces within larger urban settings. Net of the effects of standard control variables, changes over time in measures of local capitalism and civic engagement (e.g., small, locally-oriented manufacturing establishments and retail establishments, family farms, civically-engaged religious denominations, and other charitable associations and organizations) are hypothesized to vary positively with changes in measures of civic welfare including lower infant mortality, higher income levels, less out-migration, more per capita expenditures on schools and libraries.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
Patricia White
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Louisiana State University & Agricultural and Mechanical College
Baton Rouge
United States
Zip Code