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Evaluating the Impacts of Local Economic Development Policies on Local Economic Outcomes: What Has Been Done and What Is Doable?

In: Evaluating Local Economic and Employment Development: How to Access Waht Works Among Programmes and Policies

This paper argues that more rigorous evaluations of local economic development policies are feasible. Programs that aid selected small firms can be rigorously evaluated using an experimental approach, without excluding firms from assistance, by randomly assigning some firms to receive more intense marketing efforts by the program. Programs that aid distressed local areas can be rigorously evaluated by random assignment of the program among eligible distressed areas. If an experiment cannot be done, a variety of statistical approaches can be used to compare firms or areas that use the program with comparison groups of firms or areas that do not use the program. These statistical analyses should be supplemented with surveys and focus groups with businesses that use the program, which give some insight into why the program works or doesn't work. Evaluations should go beyond the effects of programs on business growth to effects on local fiscal health and the earnings of the unemployed. Evaluations using rigorous approaches suggest that programs providing information services to small manufacturers are frequently effective. Programs targeting distressed areas are ineffective unless great resources are used over a lengthy period.

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This chapter was published in: Timothy J. Bartik Evaluating Local Economic and Employment Development: How to Access Waht Works Among Programmes and Policies, OECD, pages 113-142, 2004.
This item is provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers with number tjboecd2004.
Handle: RePEc:upj:uchaps:tjboecd2004
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  1. Robert T Greenbaum & John B Engberg, 1998. "The Impact Of State Urban Enterprise Zones On Business Outcomes," Working Papers 98-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  3. Joshua Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 8456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Timothy J. Bartik, . "The Market Failure Approach to Regional Economic Development Policy," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1990, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. Edward Vytlacil & James J. Heckman, 2001. "Policy-Relevant Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 107-111, May.
  6. James R. Hines Jr., 1993. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," NBER Working Papers 4397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kenneth E. Poole & George A. Erickcek & Donalad T. Iannone & Nancy McCrea & Pofen Lin Salem, 1999. "Evaluating Business Development Incentives," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number gaw1999, November.
  8. Murnane, Richard J & Newstead, Stuart & Olsen, Randall J, 1985. "Comparing Public and Private Schools: The Puzzling Role of Selectivity Bias," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 23-35, January.
  9. Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics," NBER Technical Working Papers 0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Leslie E. Papke, 1993. "What Do We Know about Enterprise Zones?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 37-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  12. Ronald S. Jarmin, 1999. "Evaluating the impact of manufacturing extension on productivity growth," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 99-119.
  13. Timothy J. Bartik & Richard D. Bingham, 1997. "Can Economic Development Programs be Evaluated?," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Richard D. Bingham & Robert Mier (ed.), Dilemmas of Urban Economic Development, pages 246-290 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  14. Petra E. Todd & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2001. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Performance of Propensity-Score Matching Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 112-118, May.
  15. William H. Oakland & William A. Testa, 2000. "The Benefit Principle as a Preferred Approach to Taxing Business in the Midwest," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 14(2), pages 154-164, May.
  16. Michael Wasylenko, 1997. "Taxation and economic development: the state of the economic literature," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 37-52.
  17. Timothy J. Bartik & Peter K. Eisinger & George A. Erickcek, 2003. "Economic Development Policy in Michigan," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Charles L. Ballard & Paul N. courant & Douglas C. Drake & Ronald C. Fisher & Elisabeth R. Gerber (ed.), Michigan at the Millennium: A Benchmark and Analysis of Its Fiscal and Economic Structure, pages 279-297 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  18. Charles E. McLure, Jr. & Walter Hellerstein, 2002. "Does Sales-only Apportionment of Corporate Income Violate the GATT?," NBER Working Papers 9060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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