• The 2016 US Investment Monitor report released this month by Ernst & Young analyzes mobile capital investments from the past year and offers several interesting findings.  Mobile capital investments include headquarters, data and call centers, manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and research facilities. One takeaway is that high levels of capital investment are not often accompanied by high levels of job creation. A related point is dominance of the chemical industry in the capital investment tallies. Finally, there are few truly big projects, with the majority making capital investments under $9 million and projecting...

  • Economic development incentives have been on the agenda for many of our colleagues and partners around the country this summer. Here is a rundown of some of the latest work. Darrene Hackler presented "Using Incentives Effectively - the National Perspective" during a webinar for the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). You can download her slide deck here.  The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness kicked off the Data Sharing for State Policy Making and Program Evaluation Initiative, which will help states design and implement plans to improve data sharing in...

  • Our new infographic illustrates how states can manage incentives for transparency and accountability. Administering incentive programs is not easy. Determining and reporting on results is harder. Here we break down each of the steps economic development organizations can take to: collect and manage incentive data monitor, assess and evaluate program activities report results to elected leaders and citizens   We often hear that one of the biggest challenges economic development groups face is talking to elected leaders and others outside the field about incentives. We hope this infographic helps break the process down with the ultimate goal...

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  • Economic development leaders recently discussed how tax and other business incentives are used in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Two takeaways are: Incentives serve a public purpose, and companies would be wise to consider the rationale and expectations underlying incentive programs. These purposes are not limited to attracting new businesses but are connected to broader economic development strategies. For example, the DC government is seeking to diversify its economy and increase hiring opportunities for DC residents. Virginia’s goals are to increase the standard of living (via good wages) across the...

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  • A new book explores how governments use economic development incentives and efforts to address the policy and governance challenges associated with incentives. Rethinking Investment Incentives provides an interesting look at incentives around the world, including those targeted to both domestic and foreign investors, and tools to ensure incentives accomplish their intended objectives. I was pleased to contribute the chapter on “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Investment Incentives” to this edited volume from Columbia University Press. The volume suggests that careful investment policies are crucial to guide the strategic and efficient mobilization of...

  • Two midwestern cities recently released reports examining their economic development incentives. These studies each had different objectives, one with a project orientation and the other with a strategic focus. Both are publicly accessible and are worth checking out if you are interested in incentives evaluations. St. Louis The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy and efficiency of the city's economic development incentives as well as to answer basic questions on: dollar amount of incentive use, where and when incentives have been used, characteristics of incentivized projects, and how...