Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2006


Published in Great Plains Research 16:1 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


Declining retail trade in rural America is a concern for rural residents, their leaders, and rural development professionals. This cross-sectional study presents a framework for understanding relationships between changes in retail trade and rural population declines. The study uses county trade pull factors as a benchmark for retail trade in Nebraska and develops a theoretical and a statistical model to explain changes in this measure. The model suggests that retail trade in a given county is a function of the customer base, the buying power of those customers, and the quality of the retail environment.