The Distance Between Them: The Economic Geography of Students in Wisconsin
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Urban economics is an extensive field with innumerable externalities that affect consumer spending. College communities create dynamic seasonal changes in demands and varying populations, offering a unique opportunity for field study. Urban economics is a broad theory, so we formulate a tailored approach to the relationship between students and the restaurant industry. As we expand on previous economic impact studies, we conduct survey analysis to determine Madison student's restaurant preferences and their geographic residences. We analyze the distances between Madison student's residences and restaurants to show the importance of geographic location. In addition to surveying, we gather secondary information from multiple sources to help us recognize larger consumption and population patterns. On a macro scale, we compare the ratio of student population to the whole in college communities and non-college communities across Wisconsin and other neighboring states to measure how students demands impact the restaurant industries. We believe the student population dynamic within local economies is an understudied series of networks and through our research we hope to spur further thought on how to conceptualize the motives behind student's consumption of restaurants. Research Questions are: How do students impact the restaurant industry in Madison? Does location matter and why? Do students affect the number or composition of restaurants?