Dam construction has been an important component of economic development initiatives in the United States. However, few comprehensive ex post empirical studies of the effects of such projects on local employment and income exist. This study employs quasi-experimental control group methods to examine the effects of large dam reservoirs on county income, population, and employment growth for dams opened in the U.S. during the period 1975-1984. The study shows that large dam reservoirs have some statistically significant positive effects and tend to stimulate growth. There is considerable variation, however, with dam construction for flood control purposes and dams located further away from markets and large cities having less of an effect.


Aleseyed, Mostafa, Terance Rephann, and Andrew Isserman. 1998. The local economic effects of large dam reservoirs: U.S. experience, 1975-95. Review of Urban and Rural Development Studies. 10,2: 91-108.

Powerpoint slide presentation of paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Economic Association, 1997.

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