Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Howell, M, Frank

Committee Member

Bartkowski, P. John

Committee Member

Hempel, M. Lynn

Committee Member

Blanchard, C. Troy

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work


Manufacturing in the United States has been in a period of general decline over much of the past fifty years, though this overall pattern of de-industrialization has occurred at different times and intensities in specific geographical regions. However, local officials and development experts still focus efforts on attracting manufacturing industries into their communities, an effort often referred to as “smokestack chasing.” At the same time, environmentalism has been of increasing importance in the consciousness of American citizens. One of the central concerns of environmentalists and environmentally-oriented policy makers has been the pollution generated by these manufacturing facilities. As a result of these conflicting foci and interests, an intractable dividing line has emerged between those who view manufacturing as a source of local economic growth and employment opportunities, and those who are primarily interested in environmental quality and protection. This debate, characterized as one of “jobs versus the environment,” has been a central rhetorical frame utilized by the competing sides in both the policy and academic arenas. Numerous diverse strands of thought about these issues are synthesized into three primary theoretical perspectives, each of which purports to explain the economy-environment relationship. An assessment of the empirical relationship between economic standing, change, and environmental quality conducted using a variety of data sources and analytical techniques. Significant findings emerged which can be utilized to inform the environmental social sciences as well as policy makers and communities facing these issues.