Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Joe Martin


The objective of this study was to define Functional Economic Areas in Tennessee and certain parts of adjoining states. Newspaper circula-tion analysis, driving time plots, and commuter journey-to-work patterns were used as criteria to measure daily economic activity around central places in the state. Seventeen relatively independent labor commuting areas were defined by Factor Analyses of an origin-destination matrix, and its transpose, of 1970 commuter journey-to-work interactions. It was found that the home daily Newspaper-Circulation-Area (NCA) associated with a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA) center city defined a nodal region that is composed of one or more labor commuting areas. With respect to journey-to-work patterns. Labor Commuting Areas inside an NCA tended to interact more than county groups in different NCA's. One-hour travel time areas around the SMSA central cities and other smaller employment centers identified the surrounding geographic space in which commuter journey-to-work activity was the most dense. Multicounty Functional Economic Areas were defined for the study area using a combination of journey-to-work patterns, home circulation of daily newspapers, and one-hour's travel to regional and sub-regional centers. The following rules were used to allocate counties to one or another county group. 1. Counties with a high factor loading on a single factor, or high on one and low on another, were allocated to the factor of high loading. 2. Counties that have significant factor loadings on two or more factors were allocated to a county group using other criteria. a) Where the county loads on one factor inside an SMSA-NCA and another outside any SMSA-NCA, it was allocated to the former. b) If the county loads on two factors describing smaller labor commuting areas, and it is in a minor newspaper circulation area, it was allocated to the commuting area around the minor NCA. c) Subject to the above, a county within one hour's travel time of a regional or subregional employment and retail center was allocated to that center's county group. 3. In cases of low factor loadings on all factors the county was allocated to a county group on the basis of newspaper circula-tion, driving time, and the primary destination of its outside commuters. In addition to identifying Functional Economic Areas in Tennessee, the results of the study suggest that the home circulation of daily newspapers associated with an SMSA center city should be retained as one criterion for defining study areas in regional analysis. The NCA appears to be an important level in a hierarchy of functionally defined economic areas.

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