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IMPLAN, short for impact analysis for planning[1], is a system of social accounting matrix (SAM) models (a more comprehensive form of input-output (I-O) models), which are primarily used to perform economic impact analyses and economic contribution analyses[2][3]. The term “I-O model” is frequently used to describe both types of models.

An economic impact analysis examines the wider economic impacts that ripple to other industries in the chosen study area that stem from a direct change to the economy as specified by the analyst.[4] These impacts can be positive or negative, and can be expressed in terms of employment, labor income, and tax revenue, among other economic measures. IMPLAN estimates the ripple effects that spillover to neighboring regions or other regions economically connected to the base study area. The wider economic impacts relative to the initial change are often referred to as the “multiplier effect”, which can be expressed and measured in terms of various types of multipliers (e.g., employment multipliers, output multipliers, etc.), which vary by industry, region, and year.[5]


IMPLAN and I-O models are static, linear models that rely on several key assumptions, which include[6]:

  • Constant Returns to Scale
  • No Supply Constraints
  • Fixed Input Structure
  • Industry Technology Assumption
  • Constant Make Matrix
  • Constant Prices

These assumptions are the source of criticism of I-O models.[7]

Sources of IMPLAN Data[edit]

IMPLAN data come from multiple sources in different formats and are converted to a consistent format to construct their database. Data is compiled from many sources, including:

In addition to these data sources, IMPLAN provides estimates for non-disclosed data and non-census year data. IMPLAN also disaggregates data into local-level geographic scales and finer sectors, and provides inter-county trade data flows.[16]

Users of IMPLAN[edit]

IMPLAN was first developed in 1976 within the United States Forest Service in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976. The tool was used to estimate the economic effects of the US National Forests on local communities.[17] Since that point, IMPLAN data and models have been used to perform studies for a variety of industries, government entities, and academic institutions to inform economic development efforts, estimate the economic effects of various projects and proposals, understand their local economies, and more.

IMPLAN Group, LLC[edit]

The IMPLAN data and software are designed and distributed by IMPLAN Group, LLC in Huntersville, NC.


  1. ^ "IMPLAN Model- Introduction to NRCS uses of the IMPLAN model". National Resources Conservation Service.
  2. ^ "Input-Output Models for Impact Analysis: Suggestions for Practitioners Using RIMS II Multipliers | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)". www.bea.gov. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  3. ^ "What is IMPLAN?" (PDF). RESI of Towson University. 2006.
  4. ^ "Economic impact analysis", Wikipedia, 2019-09-30, retrieved 2019-11-20
  5. ^ French, Tim. "What is IMPLAN?". blog.implan.com. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  6. ^ "Key Assumptions of IMPLAN & Input-Output Analysis". IMPLAN Group. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  7. ^ Crompton, John L.; Jeong, Ji Youn; Dudensing, Rebekka M. (November 2016). "Sources of Variation in Economic Impact Multipliers". Journal of Travel Research. 55 (8): 1051–1064. doi:10.1177/0047287515617298. ISSN 0047-2875.
  8. ^ "U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". www.bls.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  9. ^ Bureau, US Census. "Economic Census". www.census.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  10. ^ "U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)". www.bea.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  11. ^ "USDA". www.usda.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  12. ^ "Oak Ridge National Laboratory | ORNL". www.ornl.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  13. ^ "Home | RRB.Gov". www.rrb.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  14. ^ "The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System". nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  15. ^ "Commercial Fisheries Statistics". commercial-home. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  16. ^ "IMPLAN Data Sources". IMPLAN Group. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  17. ^ Tuholske, Jack; Brennan, Beth (1994). "The National Forest Management Act: Judicial Interpretation of a Substantive Environmental Statute". Public Land and Resources Law Review. 15.