• Economic development was the top issue for mayors in their annual State of the City addresses for the fourth year in a row, according to State of the Cities 2017, a report recently released by the National League of Cities. The report explains: 66% of state of the city speeches included significant coverage of economic development issues. Much of the coverage was positive, describing "jobs created and developments built." Wages and employment are generally up, while unemployment rates are down.  The top five economic development topics (in order) were: job creation business attraction downtown...

  • Data sharing has the potential to change the way states manage incentive program compliance and evaluation efforts. Data sharing “is a formal process by which state agencies that collect and manage administrative records, such as corporate income tax and unemployment insurance records, may grant other government agencies and outside researchers access to microdata within those records to support authorized activities.” The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) has created the State Data Sharing Initiative to identify ways that economic and workforce development programs can safely and securely access administrative data...

  • States “have made progress in gathering evidence on the results of their economic development tax incentives,” but challenges remain for policy leaders seeking to understand and improve economic development outcomes. Ellen Harpel of Smart Incentives and Josh Goodman from The Pew Charitable Trusts discussed “Evaluating and Improving Tax Incentives” as part of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s seminar on Economic Perspectives on State and Local Taxes. Goodman presented Pew’s latest report on the subject, How States Are Improving Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth. 27 states and the District...

  • It’s National Small Business Week so we used the C2ER State Business Incentives Database to identify state economic development programs designed for small businesses. Here are 43 programs we found: Alaska Small Business Development Loan Program - The Small Business Economic Development (SBED) Loan Program provides financing for the start-up and expansion of businesses that will create significant long-term employment. California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program - The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program (SBLGP) provides repayment guarantees to lenders that provide financing to small businesses that experience capital access barriers. The guarantees...

  • A new report from the Urban Institute assesses how the synthetic control method can be used for economic development policy evaluation. The synthetic control method (SCM) creates “a synthetic control region that simulates what the outcome path of a region would be if it did not undergo a particular policy intervention.” The method involves creating a “hypothetical counterfactual region” based on combined predictor variables from specified “donor regions” – such as other states – and comparing outcome variables. It is considered a useful quantitative supplement to qualitative case studies because...