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Can Economic Development Programs be Evaluated?

In: Dilemmas of Urban Economic Development

The question addressed in this paper seems simple: Can economic development programs be evaluated? But the answer is not simple because of the nature of evaluation. To determine a program's effectiveness requires a sophisticated evaluation because it requires the evaluator to distinguish changes due to the program from changes due to nonprogram factors. The evaluator must focus on the outcomes caused by the program rather than the program's procedures. Evaluations can be divided into two categories process or formative evaluations and outcome, impact, or summative evaluations. Process evaluations focus on how a program is delivered. Impact evaluations focus on the program's results. Although process evaluations are important, the focus of this chapter is on program outcomes thus the concern with impact evaluations; however, both types of evaluations need to be defined.

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This chapter was published in: Richard D. Bingham & Robert Mier (ed.) Dilemmas of Urban Economic Development, Sage, pages 246-290, 1997.
This item is provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers with number tjbrdb1997.
Handle: RePEc:upj:uchaps:tjbrdb1997
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  1. 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.
  2. Timothy J. Bartik, . "Who Benefits from Local Job Growth: Migrants or Original Residents?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1993rs, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  3. Harry J. Holzer & Richard Block & Marcus Cheatham & Jack H. Knott, 1993. "Are training subsidies for firms effective? The Michigan experience," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 625-636, July.
  4. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, March.
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