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Rethinking U.S. enterprise zones: The role of research design in program evaluation

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  • Sumei Zhang

Abstract

This paper offers an up-to-date review of Enterprise Zone programs across states in the U.S. An Enterprise Zone program often focuses on target locations, populations, and/or industries. Enterprise Zone program designs and implementations vary between states. The expected outcomes are likely to differ from the desired outcome, which is to revitalize Enterprise Zone areas. This paper also provides a review of the existing Enterprise Zone empirical literature on program effectiveness assessments. There are conflicting recommendations, even for the same Enterprise Zone program. To assess whether research design contributes to this situation, the paper explores several research design factors, including outcome measure, time span, spatial unit, data choice, and control of endogeneity. Information on these research factors in the existing literature is collected and coded. Descriptive and correlation analyses suggest that outcome measure, spatial unit, post-program time span, and the choice of an endogeneity control method have significant impacts on program effectiveness assessments.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:loceco:v:34:y:2019:i:6:p:545-571
    DOI: 10.1177/0269094219871955
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