Enterprise Zones and Job Creation: Linking Evaluation and Practice
Although enterprise zones have been a popular economic development tool for several years, there is still a lack of evidence on both zone effectiveness and how to improve existing zone programs. This article discusses several evaluation criteria that should be given more attention. First, the article addresses methodological issues in assessing zone benefits, including the importance of comparing places that received zones with a suitably chosen control group of places that did not get zones. Second, the data requirements for enterprise zone evaluation are examined. The link between evaluation and practice is discussed. Zone evaluations must address not only efficiency criteria such as the measurement of benefits and costs but also the question of how to improve the functioning of existing zones. The conclusion is that zone evaluations should pay closer attention to research methodology and strive to document program implementation information that can improve the practice of enterprise zones.
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