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What Should EDA Fund? Developing a Model for Pre-Assessment of Economic Development Investments


  • Brad R. Watts

    () (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

  • George A. Erickcek

    () (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

  • Jacob Duritsky


  • Kevin O’Brien

    (Cleveland State University)

  • Claudette Robey

    (Cleveland State University)

  • Jim Robey



This paper describes the completion of a “comprehensive study of regionalism” that was conducted by a joint team of economists and economic development specialists for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The project consisted of two main activities: an examination of the factors associated with economic development success and the creation of a practical interactive tool for EDA project assessment and comparison. Findings from surveys, interviews, and project case studies are discussed in terms of their support for a positive relationship between successful economic development efforts and factors such as leadership and private investment. Also, the authors discuss the creation of a quantitative assessment model utilizing well-known approaches such as economic impact multipliers and cluster theory. The primary contribution of this work to the existing body of EDA-focused research and evaluation literature is introducing a means of using standardized scores, also known as z-scores, to compare and assess economic development projects across both industries and regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Brad R. Watts & George A. Erickcek & Jacob Duritsky & Kevin O’Brien & Claudette Robey & Jim Robey, 2009. "What Should EDA Fund? Developing a Model for Pre-Assessment of Economic Development Investments," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 09-155, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:09-155

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman & Hui Li, 2009. "Who Wins From Local Economic Development?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 23(1), pages 13-27, February.
    2. 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, November.
    3. Martin, Randolph C & Graham, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "The Impact of Economic Development Administration Programs: Some Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(1), pages 52-62, February.
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    More about this item


    regional economic development; economic impact; assessment model; EDA; z-score;

    JEL classification:

    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy

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