Exploring Alternative Futures Using a Spatially Explicit Econometric Model

Nikhil Kaza, Gerrit Knaap, and Douglas Meade (2008)

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This paper illustrates the application of various forecasting methodologies in constructing multiple scenarios for the state of Maryland using Long term Inter Industry Forecasting Tool that tracks inter-industry outputs at a macro scale, and State Employment Model that disaggregates these outputs to the states. We then use accessibility, land availability and observed relationships of employment categories to distribute employment at a county level. In this paper, we identify the possible advantages and pitfalls of using large scale economic models to drive employment forecasts at the county level. This framework allows for simulating the implications of macroeconomic scenarios such as changes in exchange rates and unemployment levels, as well as local land use and transportation policies on local employment and demographics. In particular, we focus on two scenarios as test cases both of which involve very different ideas about how future might unfold and their effects on land use and transportation policy prescriptions. One of the scenarios involves, among others, rises in health care spending over the next few years and the other involves increases in energy prices. As will be shown, they have different spatial effects and suggest different policy actions on the part of various governments.