Business Incentives and Employment: What Incentives Work and Where?
State governments offer tax and location-based incentives to entice firms to locate or expand operations in their state. We evaluate the effect of these incentives on employment using a panel data of Kentucky counties. These data are unique because they contain information on actual incentives received rather than on incentives offered, an important distinction because the majority of incentives offered are never claimed. Because Kentucky offers incentive plans similar to other states, the results are applicable to other states. Training incentives have a strong, positive effect on economic activity, whereas tax incentives have a more modest positive effect. These effects differ with the location of the county, with almost no impact in interior counties and much larger, positive and significant impacts in counties along state borders. There are few if any spillover effects to adjacent counties.
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