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 August 1, 1999

CSU economics institute to study state’s economy

FORT COLLINS — A proven record of economic modeling and forecasting has led

to creation of a new center at Colorado State University that focuses the university’s brain-power on the study of Colorado’s economy.

And members of the Center for Research on the Colorado Economy are saying

their work might mesh neatly with a University of Colorado initiative to establish an institute to study ways to manage the state’s growth.

The new CSU center is a collective of 12 professors and researchers at CSU’s departments of economics and agricultural and resource economics. They are joined by the coordinator of the Cooperative Extension Service’s County Information Service, an economist with the Office of State Planning and Budget and a research associate at CSU’s Natural Ecology Research Lab.

Working with data provided by state agencies, their research results will

be made available to local governments, businesses and policy-makers

statewide.

Among the research products that the center plans to offer are

* A quarterly economic forecasts that provide two-year looks at what’s ahead for Colorado and its distinct regions.

* Growth-analysis models that help local government officials and planners

make decisions based on reliable information.

* Studies of labor-market trends and cost-of-living measures that will benefit decision-makers concerned with affordable-housing development and other growth-related issues.

The center grew out of a brown-bag lunch among professors and upper-level

graduate students last spring.

“A number of us discovered that we were doing research on various aspects

of the Colorado economy, and we decided to meet and share ideas,´ said Jerry Eckert, a professor of agriculture and resource economics and a co-director of the center. “The collegial interaction was very strong, and we had the strong idea that we ought to formalize this.”

The establishment of the center comes at the same time University of

Colorado officials and business leaders are planning an institute for the study of growth. CSU’s Harvey Cutler, a professor of economics and the new center’s other co-director, said he sees opportunities for cooperation between the two.

“We should be talking with the people at CU, because it doesn’t make sense

for them to reinvent the wheel,” Cutler said. “It’s worthwhile for all of us to sit down at the same table and see what we each have to offer. CSU has all the agricultural stuff and the natural resources stuff covered.”

State Demographer Jim Westkott, whose office will provide much of the raw

data used by the CSU research center, said CSU’s emphasis on the study of

regional economies makes it a logical location for the economic study

center.

“Most university economics departments teach national economics, not

regional economics,” Westkott said. “CSU, with its land-grant and agricultural background, understands regional economics. We’re just thrilled that all that intelligence power is going to be applied in this way.”

Prototypes of the kinds of research packages that the center will make

available have already been applied in Northern Colorado communities.

Cutler and Economics Department colleague Stephen Davies have collaborated

on growth-analysis research that has helped Fort Collins planning and

financial officials.

The two have developed a computerized economic model that takes employment

and wage data from Westkott and other state offices and property-value numbers from local governments and real estate sources and crunches them into a useful picture of employment, capital investment and output.

FORT COLLINS — A proven record of economic modeling and forecasting has led

to creation of a new center at Colorado State University that focuses the university’s brain-power on the study of Colorado’s economy.

And members of the Center for Research on the Colorado Economy are saying

their work might mesh neatly with a University of Colorado initiative to establish an institute to study ways to manage the state’s growth.

The new CSU center is a collective of 12 professors and researchers at CSU’s departments of economics and agricultural and resource economics. They are…

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