2022 Publications


The Living Conditions of Elderly in Nonmetro Illinois and East North Central Division of the Midwest Region

This paper describes the attributes of elderly housing in the metro and the nonmetro. Paucity of housing data at the nonmetro level motivated the research. Data analysis suggests that a majority of elderly in the nonmetro own their homes, 64%, compared to 48% of home ownership for the metro. More than two-out-of-five nonmetro residents expressed interest in having an Accessory Dwelling Unit; other changes that are required to continue living in the home include easier access into the home and bathroom modifications such as handrails and no-step shower.

Free Expression among Races: Differences Between the Metro and the Nonmetro

This paper highlights differences in beliefs about the First Amendment and free speech rights among three different races: Whites, African Americans, and Asians. Data are from a survey conducted by the Knight Foundation. While African Americans are more skeptical about the First Amendment and free speech rights, a majority of White respondents believe that the use of free speech is for the wealthy.

Farmers Involvement in Educational Activities: Insights from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) Microdata Sets

This paper explores time spent by self-employed farmers on work and work-related educational activities. Data analysis reveals that farming is primarily learned by experience and discovery; farmers spend little or no time on formal education and training. Policy efforts aimed at stimulating continuing learning among farmers should focus on developing their critical thinking and reflection skills.

Shifting Meaning of Inequity: Insights from the Blog Posts of National Black Farmers Association

This paper uses topic modelling to study 217 blogs from the National Black Farmers Association. A blog is a verbal behavior of the blogger; every verbal behavior or utterance has a probability of emission. How often a blogger will emit a response depends upon reinforcements for the response. The results of our empirical analysis indicate that perceptions of racial discrimination, including beliefs about the consequences of racial discrimination, are widely shared among the members of the National Black Farmers Association.

Youth E-Cigarette Use in Illinois and the Midwest: Insights from A Panel Study

This paper explores e-cigarette use among young people in Illinois and the Midwest; data were from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. Results of data analysis suggest that (i) 11% of adolescents reported using electronic nicotine products during the past 12 months; (ii) fruit and candy flavors were the most preferred e-liquid flavors, and (iii) the majority of e-cigarette users were White, male, and 15-17 years of age. The paper concludes with a listing of behavioral strategies to combat e-cigarette use.

The Threat of Automation: Differences in Perceptions Between Metro and Nonmetro Labor Force Participants

The present study was constructed to determine the social and economic characteristics of those workers who perceive automation as a threat. Data were from a survey of adults sponsored by the Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. Results of data analysis suggest that some individuals appear to live as if they are in the process of “becoming”; they are training to develop new skills in order to keep up with changes in the workplace; they are predominantly college-educated men with a household income of $50,000-$75,000.

Impacts of Automation on Employment: Metro and Nonmetro Illinois

This paper explores the impact of automation on occupations in Illinois. Many foresee negative impacts, that automation will wipe out millions of jobs. Empirical analysis suggests that the role of labor in industry output has decreased in the nonmetro; and at the peak of automation in the 2030s, a quarter of a million jobs in the nonmetro would be disrupted; production family of jobs will be the worst affected in the nonmetro.

An Empirical Analysis of the Attributes of New and Beginning Farmers in Illinois

This paper compares the characteristics of beginning operators and their farming operations with those of experienced producers using data from the census of agriculture. Results of data analysis reveal that 99% of all beginning producers are White. Of the very few minority beginning producers, N = 202, 44% are African Americans, 34% Asians, and 22% other minorities. A higher proportion of beginning farmers grow vegetables and engage in cattle, sheep, and goat farming, whereas experienced producers focus on oilseed and grain farming and dairy cattle. This research is a first step towards building up an empirically based set of observations and findings about beginning farmers.

Young Illinoisans’ Interests in Farming

This paper explores young persons’ interests in farming using published data from the Census of Agriculture and related sources. One of the salient findings of the research is that the head of the farming household provides positive reinforcement for young persons in the household to engage in farming; the strength of the reinforcement is the largest for biological sons or daughters and least for adopted children. In spite of this, parental influence, 92% of young persons from farming families look for employment elsewhere. The consequence is reflected in the median growth rate of young producers in Illinois, -2.7%.

An Empirical Analysis of Farm Tenancy in Illinois and Tweets about Farm Tenancy

This paper explores Illinois farm tenancy using both published quantitative data and qualitative Tweets. Results of data analysis suggest that in 2020 eight percent of Illinois farms had tenant
farmers; sixty two percent of the tenant farmers were male and a majority of tenants rented less than 100 acres of land. Revenue growth for tenant farms is positively correlated with the size of the land; larger the leased land, larger is the revenue growth. Twitterati harbor positive sentiments about farm tenancy. The paper concludes with a call for micro data analysis of farm tenancy data.

Foreign Businesses in the Agricultural Sector in Illinois

Fourteen overseas companies operate 27 subsidiaries in the state. The typical parent company has been in business since 1954, employs 23,500 people, and has an annual revenue of $10.03bil. The 27 subsidiaries function in 50 different industries; slightly more than 40% of the firms function in the livestock industry. The question is whether foreign business investments will displace the “local” farmer. Using risk computations from modern finance theory, I conclude that foreign business takeover of Illinois agricultural land is unlikely to happen.

Rural Illinois in Numbers: Content-Valid Indicators for Governance

This paper provides ‘valid’ indicators for quality of life assessment at the county level. Validity is the response to the question, “how truthfully does the measure represent the constructs in the theory”. Based on the argument that quality of life implies fulfilment of one’s needs and meeting of the demands which society places upon one, I construct 18 indicators of quality of life, measure them longitudinally using publicly available data, and profile rural Illinois, county-wise.

Illinois Farm Ownership by Race and Farm Productivity

This paper explores the impact of producer’s race on farm productivity. Data analysis suggests that: (i) minority farmers own farms that are less than 50 acres in size; the opposite is true for the White producers, 64% own more than 50 acres of farm land; and (ii) on average, farms operated by the Whites receive more conservation-programs payments and other federal program payments.

Restaurant Inspections in Illinois: A Control Theory Analysis

Market-regulation is often imposed on industries that generate substantial external costs; restaurants are responsible for majority of foodborne illness in the nation. Data on restaurant inspections for the years 2020, 2021, and January 1, 2022 – May 10, 2022, were processed to gain insights into firm behavior. An analysis of 23,683 cases reveals that 56% of the inspections reported illness-risk-factor violations and retail-practices violations; only 15% of the inspections had no violations.

Labor Mobility in Illinois: Industry by Occupation Analysis

This paper explores whether Covid-19 could have increased the likelihood of job changes of an extreme sort; Illinoisans may have taken jobs outside their interests and below their capacities. Employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Census Bureau were used to gain insights into the issue. Results of data analysis suggest that job-to-job moves declined in 2021, from 240,747 moves in 1st quarter, 2020 to 219,949 moves in 1st quarter, 2021, but the Covid-19 pandemic did not result in random job changes. Another outcome of the research is the transition matrix for occupations by industry; it shows, for example, the likelihood of one moving from an “outdoor” job to a “technology” job.

Job-to-Job Flows in Illinois, 2000-2021

This paper explores the dynamics of labor movements in Illinois using data from the US Census Bureau. Empirical analysis reveals that Covid-19 has altered the level of job-to-job movements, from a pre Covid-19 average of 285,000 moves to 221,610 moves.

Rural Education in Charts, 2000-2022

This paper provides a snapshot of rural educational attainment as at January 2022. Apart from crosstabulations of educational attainment with demographic variables such as gender and age, the paper also estimates Covid-19 impacts on median earnings of the college-educated population, the respiratory illness has increased median earnings by $8,350.

Discouraged Workers in the Nonmetro

This paper explores the personal characteristics of those discouraged over job prospects. Microdata from the Current Population Survey, for three monthly periods, January 2020, January 2021, and January 2022, were compiled to gain insights into the discouraged worker. Results suggest that he number of discouraged workers has declined in the nonmetro, but has increased in the metro and during phase 4 of the Covid-19 pandemic, January 2021, more Blacks than Whites believed that they couldn’t find work.

Rural Residents’ Evaluation of their College Education: Insights from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Household Economics and Decision Making

This paper explores metro nonmetro differences in value perceptions of college degrees. Responses from 11,648 adults, a nationally representative sample of 18+ year old individuals, were used to gain insights into cost-benefit evaluations of associate / bachelor’s degrees. Results of data analysis suggest that rural residents value a degree in education more than a degree in science & engineering or business studies. Contrary to the common belief that rural residents view higher education as a threat to their chances of retaining their young people, this research shows that rural residents stake their self-esteem on higher education.

Demographics of High-Income Households in Rural Illinois, 2021

This paper presents the profile of high-income households in rural Illinois. Salient findings include: (1) Households in the top quintile accounted for 52% of total household income in rural Illinois; and (2) A typical top-5% household is a single family, two-member household with a female head of household.
To attain a more equitable personal distribution of income, it is recommended that governments focus on motivating individuals to attain positions that are scarce and valued by the society.

Interpreting the Recent Decline in Illinois’ Labor Force: April 2020 – December 2021

This paper focuses on the effects of extraneous factors such as Covid-19 on Illinoisans’ nonparticipation in the labor market. During the early weeks of the pandemic, April 23, 2020 to June 23, 2020, Covid-19 was the main reason for not working for pay or profit.  Later, retirement became the main reason for nonparticipation in the labor force, median value = 38.5%. Family & friends were a major source of financial support for persons whose employer has shut down because of Covid-19. Since April 2020, the retirement rate of the Illinois labor force is 1% per 1-2 weeks’ time period. Nevertheless, there is good news; the labor market is tight. If an Illinoisan needs a job, there is one available.

Telemedicine use in Illinois during the weeks leading to the spread of Covid-19, omicron variant: Insights from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey

Based on the reasoning that behavior is adaptable to changing circumstances, this paper explores whether telemedicine has become common among Illinoisans, since the emergence of Covid-19 in January 2020. Micro data from the US Census’ Household Pulse Survey were analyzed, comparative statics analysis was performed. Results suggest that telemedicine use has declined in Illinois, but college educated population and households with income above $75,000 are using the service more. These clusters or segments should be the target for marketing the service.