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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The impact of the forest industry on economic development in the central interior of British Columbia Vance, Eric Carter


There are very few published studies that have investigated in detail the economic impact of the forest industry at a subprovincial level in British Columbia. The reason most often cited is that the techniques of analysis viewed as most appropriate for handling such an undertaking require more economic data than are easily obtainable. It is the hypothesis of this study that sufficient data do exist to allow a close examination of the economic impact of the forest industry at a regional or local scale and that such an analysis can be conducted with some widely utilized and relatively simple techniques of measurement. The central interior of B.C. has been chosen as the study region because of its heavy dependence upon the forest industry for its economic well-being. The thesis begins with a discussion of the historical development of the forest industry in the central interior. It concentrates upon the economic factors that have affected the industry's direction and rate of growth and the impact that this has had on overall regional development. Analysis of the present relationship between the forest industry and the regional economy is in part accomplished using two forms of Economic Base Analysis - the Location Quotient method and the Minimum Requirements technique. Both of these forms of measurement are reviewed, highlighting the major theoretical and empirical research involving their application, particularly in regards to the forest industry in other regions of North America. Using Statistics Canada labour force data, the analysis has concluded that an employment multiplier of 2.13 is justifiable for the central interior of B.C. The latter portion of the thesis attempts a dynamic approach to tracing the linkages between the forest industry and the rest of the regional economy. Applying statistical analysis to three types of data - employment, earnings, and unemployment - the study reveals the complexity of the interindustrial linkages within the regional economic system. Several of the more significant findings are that the nonbasic sector of the economy exhibits surprising resilience to short-term employment fluctuations and that the unemployment rate is an often overlooked effect that must be carefully considered in determining the actual rate of development within a region.

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