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Government programs can improve local labor markets: Evidence from State Enterprise Zones, Federal Empowerment Zones and Federal Enterprise Community

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  • Ham, John C.
  • Swenson, Charles
  • İmrohoroğlu, Ayşe
  • Song, Heonjae
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    Abstract

    Federal and state governments spend well over a billion dollars a year on programs that encourage employment development in disadvantaged labor markets through the use of subsidies and tax credits. In this paper we use an estimation approach that is valid under relatively weak assumptions to measure the impact of State Enterprise Zones (ENTZs), Federal Empowerment Zones (EMPZs), and Federal Enterprise Community (ENTC) programs on local labor markets. We find that all three programs have positive, statistically significant, impacts on local labor markets in terms of the unemployment rate, the poverty rate, the fraction with wage and salary income, and employment. Further, the effects of EMPZ and ENTC designation are considerably larger than the impact of ENTZ designation. We find that our estimates are robust to allowing for a regression to the mean effect. We also find that there are positive, but statistically insignificant, spillover effects to neighboring Census tracts of each of these programs. Thus our positive estimates of these program impacts do not simply represent a transfer from the nearest non-treated Census tract to the treated Census tract. Our results are noteworthy for several reasons. First, our study is the first to jointly look at these three programs, thus allowing policy makers to compare the impacts of these programs. Second, our paper, along with a concurrent study by Neumark and Kolko (2008), is the first to carry out the estimation accounting for overlap between the programs. Third, our estimation strategy is valid under weaker assumptions than those made in many previous studies; we consider three comparison groups and let the data determine the appropriate group. Fourth, in spite of our conservative estimation strategy, by looking at national effects with disaggregated data, we show that ENTZ designation generally has a positive effect on the local labor market, while most previous research on ENTZs, much of which used more geographically aggregated data to look at state-specific effects, did not find any significant impacts. Fifth, we note that there is little or no previous work on ENTCs. Overall, our results strongly support the efficacy of these labor market interventions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

    Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 779-797

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:779-797

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

    Related research

    Keywords: Enterprise zones; Empowerment zones; Enterprise communities; Program evaluation; Disadvantaged labor markets;

    References

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    1. O'Keefe, Suzanne, 2004. "Job creation in California's enterprise zones: a comparison using a propensity score matching model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 131-150, January.
    2. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
    3. Bondonio, Daniele & Engberg, John, 2000. "Enterprise zones and local employment: evidence from the states' programs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 519-549, September.
    4. Neumark, David & Kolko, Jed, 2010. "Do enterprise zones create jobs? Evidence from California's enterprise zone program," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-19, July.
    5. Marlon G. Boarnet, 2001. "Enterprise Zones and Job Creation: Linking Evaluation and Practice," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 15(3), pages 242-254, August.
    6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. R A Erickson & S W Friedman, 1990. "Enterprise zones: 2. A comparative analysis of zone performance and state government policies," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 8(4), pages 363-378, August.
    8. Papke, Leslie E., 1994. "Tax policy and urban development : Evidence from the Indiana enterprise zone program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 37-49, May.
    9. Alan H. Peters & Peter S. Fisher, 2002. "State Enterprise Zone Programs: Have They Worked?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number sezp.
    10. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Imbens, Guido & Abadie, Alberto, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Scholarly Articles 3043415, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    12. Bondonio, Daniele & Greenbaum, Robert T., 2007. "Do local tax incentives affect economic growth? What mean impacts miss in the analysis of enterprise zone policies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-136, January.
    13. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    14. Leslie E. Papke, 1993. "What Do We Know about Enterprise Zones?," NBER Working Papers 4251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Robert T. Greenbaum & John B. Engberg, 2004. "The impact of state enterprise zones on urban manufacturing establishments," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 315-339.
    16. Hsiao,Cheng, 2003. "Analysis of Panel Data," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521522717, October.
    17. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    18. Boarnet, Marlon G. & Bogart, William T., 1996. "Enterprise Zones and Employment: Evidence from New Jersey," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 198-215, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Cerqua, Augusto & Pellegrini, Guido, 2014. "Do subsidies to private capital boost firms' growth? A multiple regression discontinuity design approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 114-126.
    2. Behaghel, Luc & Lorenceau, Adrien & Quantin, Simon, 2013. "Replacing Churches and Mason Lodges? Tax Exemptions and Rural Development," IZA Discussion Papers 7808, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Briant, Anthony & Lafourcade, Miren & Schmutz, Benoît, 2013. "Can Tax Breaks Beat Geography? Lessons from the French Enterprise Zone Experience," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1316, CEPREMAP.
    4. Givord, Pauline & Rathelot, Roland & Sillard, Patrick, 2013. "Place-based tax exemptions and displacement effects: An evaluation of the Zones Franches Urbaines program," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 151-163.
    5. Antonio Accetturo & Guido de Blasio, 2011. "Policies for local development: an evaluation of Italy's "Patti Territoriali"," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 789, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00695225 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Freedman, Matthew, 2012. "Teaching new markets old tricks: The effects of subsidized investment on low-income neighborhoods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1000-1014.
    8. Augusto Cerqua & Guido Pellegrini, 2014. "Beyond the SUTVA: how policy evaluations change when we allow for interactions among firms," Working Papers 2/14, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    9. Hanson, Andrew & Rohlin, Shawn, 2013. "Do spatially targeted redevelopment programs spillover?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 86-100.

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