This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Irrigation, Income Distribution, and Industrialized Agriculture in the Southeast United States




Bai, Dan

Type of Degree



Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology


Improved availability of irrigation water in agriculture can stabilize crop yields and therefore incomes for adopting producers. However, because of unequal distribution of access to land and water, irrigation may have undesirable effects on income distribution and poverty status of a region other than poverty alleviation. By analyzing the extent and kind of irrigation in southeastern U.S. counties in relation to income distribution while controlling cross-county differences, this paper examines the impacts of irrigation on poverty and income inequality in the counties of nine states (Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida) in the southeast United States. We examine the notion that irrigation is an aspect of industrialized agriculture that exacerbates inequality in agricultural counties. Keywords: Inequality, irrigation, agricultural structure