Meet our ReCONNECT Rural and Urban Faculty Member Dr. Renkow

Mitch Renkow is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University.   He has been on the faculty at NC State since 1991.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, his Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Renkow’s research and extension activities focused on domestic (U.S.) community and rural development and international development.  His work in community and rural development has spanned a number of topic areas, including rural-urban land use issues, local public finance, solid waste management, diffusion impacts of and broadband, and the economics of local food systems.  His research program in international development focuses on issues of technology adoption, determinants of market participation, and the aggregate and distributional impacts of agricultural research.

He has published widely in a variety of scholarly journals and has served as a Senior Fellow of the Southern Rural Development Center.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that Americans and the businesses that employ them are becoming more widely dispersed geographically.  This trend, known as deconcentration, is generally thought to be driven by a variety of interrelated factors,” said Dr. Renkow. “These include increased mobility of both workers and employers, technological changes that have reduced the cost of distance, and preferences for amenities offered by suburban and rural environments.”

“Creative strategies will be required of rural communities seeking solutions to the economic development and public finance challenges associated with continuing population deconcentration.” Dr. Renkow

Dr. Renkow is excited about the opportunities presented by the ReCONNECT Rural and Urban Forum. In research that he conducted over a decade ago he found that when new jobs are created in one county, a substantial fraction of those jobs are taken by folks living in a different county. That finding—along with work he has done subsequently with the Cooperative Extension’s Stronger Economies Together project—convinced him that the positive impacts of job creation in one specific community bring significant economic benefits to other communities and that this, in turn, provides a strong justification for regional cooperation.  “I believe that the ReCONNECT Rural and Urban Forum can help to facilitate this sort of multi-jurisdictional collaboration,” said Dr. Renkow.

IEI is excited to have Dr. Mitch Renkow join us on February 11 and bring his valued expertise to our Rural and Urban Forum examining some of the interconnections, myths, and realities of a changing rural and urban North Carolina.