Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Economics & Finance

First Advisor

David T. Flynn


Although South Dakota has traditionally been an agriculture-based state, the state's economy has diversified immensely over the past few decades. This paper examines if the state agriculture industry has an effect on the statewide election results since 1990. Three models are used to determine the impact of farm earnings, state and national economic factors, and other control variables on the vote share of a candidate. Two ordinary least squares models focus on elections with incumbent candidates and elections with all candidates. A third model uses a probit estimation to determine the impact of the previously stated variables on the probability of a candidate winning the statewide election. The results indicate that political party and incumbency have a much greater impact on a candidate's election and vote share than the economic variables. The results also indicate that farm earnings have no significant effect on the state's election results.