Stephan Goetz


Professor of Agricultural and Regional Economics,
Director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development


  • Social Sciences
  • Agriculture
  • Law and Policy

Focus Areas:

  • Economics
  • Economic Development


  • Director of The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, which aims to use research-based information to help create regional prosperity through entrepreneurial and cluster-based innovation
  • Researches food systems economics, economic growth and development, and regional economics and policy, with a current emphasis on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities.

Stephan Goetz researches the role of markets and human capital in stimulating economic growth and development, and in reducing poverty. Additional research interests include social network analysis, regional food systems, self-employment and targeted regional economic development. He also provides leadership for economic and community development research and extension activities across 13 states, including linking state activities to national and regional initiatives.

In The Media

Stephan Goetz, a professor of agricultural and regional economics at Penn State, published a study that showed suburban residents were happier than rural or metro folks. Interestingly, people who hadn’t moved at all in the past five years also reported being happier. “This may be related to not having to find new friends and social networks,” Goetz says.

Can Where You Live Affect Your Depression Risk?

from U.S. News and World Report May 8, 2017

"People who live in the suburbs are closer to jobs and all of the amenities that a big city can provide, but they're also far enough away from the stress of the inner city," says lead author Stephan Goetz, a professor of economics at Penn State. "It may be that you don't want to be too close to people, but you don't want to be too far away, either."

Buying local: Does it really help local economies?

from Christian Science Monitor April 6, 2014

“We found that for every one dollar increase in agricultural sales, personal income rose by 22 cents over the course of five years. Considering the relatively small size of just the farming sector within the national economy, with less than two percent of the workforce engaged in farming, it's impressive that these sales actually move income growth in this way," Goetz said.

"Our results confirm that economic factors, including income especially and unemployment, as well as population density — or rurality — are important," Goetz said. "As we are controlling for economic factors, population density appears to play an independent role in accounting for the disparate death rates."

Need help finding an expert?

Penn State expertise spans far beyond those that we have currently featured on the site. Call us at 814-865-7517 or contact a member of the media relations staff

Go to top