Research university impacts are difficult to measure, but vital to understanding the economic development surrounding these universities. This study examines whether research universities in the United States contribute significantly to regional economic development and whether agglomeration economies explain earnings per worker based on university presence or not. Drawing on county-by-county data for the first time, more precisely highlights more specifically the differences between regions with universities and regions without. The effects of university presence, federal, state and institutional research and development expenditures, and industry presence on earnings per worker are tested using multivariate regression analysis. The study finds that university presence alone impacts the presence of industries related to science and technology. University impact measurements are becoming more important as universities compete for government funding.