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Why Are State Policy Makers Still Proponents of Enterprise Zones? What Explains Their Action in the Face of a Preponderance of the Research?

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  • Robert T. Greenbaum

    (John Glenn School of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University, greenbaum.3@osu.edu)

  • Jim Landers

    (Indiana Legislative Services Agency, jlanders@iga.state.in.us)

Abstract

The vast majority of states have implemented some version of enterprise zone (EZ) programs, which geographically target economic development efforts to revitalize distressed areas. While EZs have been studied extensively, there is little evidence that they have succeeded. Despite this, the number of programs, the number of EZs designated, and the land area covered by these zones have grown over time. This essay reviews the research on state EZ programs and explores why it has not had a greater influence on policy. One explanation we discuss is that the research has not been made accessible enough to policy makers and their staffs. Another explanation we posit is that political decision making that guides policy on EZ programs is influenced by many actors and sources of information not just the academic research literature. The essay discusses how the establishment or expansion of EZ programs may be encouraged by EZ businesses and landlords engaging in rent seeking behavior. The essay concludes by providing some recommendations regarding how the research community can make its work more relevant for state and local policy makers and how policy makers can become better consumers of evaluative research when implementing and refining programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert T. Greenbaum & Jim Landers, 2009. "Why Are State Policy Makers Still Proponents of Enterprise Zones? What Explains Their Action in the Face of a Preponderance of the Research?," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 32(4), pages 466-479, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:inrsre:v:32:y:2009:i:4:p:466-479
    DOI: 10.1177/0160017609341385
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Timothy J. Bartik & George A. Erickcek, 2012. "Simulating the Effects of Michigan's MEGA Tax Credit Program on Job Creation and Fiscal Benefits," Upjohn Working Papers 12-185, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    3. Timothy J. Bartik & George Erickcek, 2014. "Simulating the Effects of the Tax Credit Program of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority on Job Creation and Fiscal Benefits," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 28(4), pages 314-327, November.
    4. Carlianne Patrick, 2014. "Does Increasing Available Non-Tax Economic Development Incentives Result in More Jobs?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 67(2), pages 351-386, June.
    5. Mikhail Ivonchyk, 2022. "Local Economic Development Policies and Business Activity: Dynamic Panel Data Analysis of All County Governments in the State of Georgia," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 36(2), pages 92-107, May.
    6. Sumei Zhang, 2019. "Rethinking U.S. enterprise zones: The role of research design in program evaluation," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 34(6), pages 545-571, September.
    7. Nidhi Chaudhary & Jonathan Potter, 2019. "Evaluation of the local employment impacts of enterprise zones: A critique," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 56(10), pages 2112-2159, August.
    8. Adrienne DiTommaso & Robert T. Greenbaum, 2021. "An Examination of the Relationship Between Local Tax Incentives and Diversification of the Local Economic Base," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 35(2), pages 108-124, May.
    9. Sumei Zhang, 2020. "Do Research Methods Matter in Enterprise Zone Outcome Evaluations?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 34(3), pages 299-309, August.
    10. Timothy J. Bartik & Kevin Hollenbeck, 2012. "An Analysis of the Employment Effects of the Washington High Technology Business and Occupation (B&O) Tax Credit," Upjohn Working Papers 12-187, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

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