Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Policy Studies

Committee Chair/Advisor

Lamie, David

Committee Member

Ransom, Bruce

Committee Member

Ulbrich, Holley

Committee Member

Zehnder, Geoffrey


Within the existing economic development literature, there is a well-established linkage between the presence of skilled human capital and economic growth. A subset of this literature has focused on the role that a specific type of skilled human capital, known as the “creative class,” may play in facilitating regional economic development. This dissertation builds upon the existing creative class literature by examining the factors that have attracted the creative class to the state of South Carolina. In addition, this research gives special attention to the entrepreneurial activities of creative class professionals who engage in small-scale farming. Recent interest surrounding the economic, social, and environmental benefits of small-scale farming has led researchers and development practitioners to increasingly examine the role that local food systems may play in the regional development process. Accordingly, this dissertation examines how small-scale farm operators may be contributing to their communities and local economies by engaging in knowledge-intensive, entrepreneurial activities. This dissertation includes three manuscripts related to the creative class and local food systems in South Carolina. Manuscript One examines the geographical, physical, and socioeconomic characteristics that may attract members of the creative class to certain communities in South Carolina. This research provides insight into the factors that may allow some rural or less populated areas to attract high-quality human capital. Manuscript Two transitions into an examination of entrepreneurship and local food systems and specifically, explores a linkage between small-scale farm operators and the creative class. Manuscript Two is intended to provide insight into the role that local food systems may play in facilitating local economic development and should be especially relevant to rural or less populated areas looking to implement an entrepreneurship-led development strategy. Lastly, Manuscript Three explores the factors that may facilitate the development of well-functioning local food systems in certain South Carolina counties. This research may be especially relevant to development practitioners who are considering ways to improve the overall functioning of their local food systems.

Included in

Public Policy Commons



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