Are local economic development incentives promoting job growth? An empirical case study
Fuerst, F. and Mollenkopf, J., (2008) Are local economic development incentives promoting job growth? An empirical case study. Working Papers in Real Estate & Planning . 10/08. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp41.
At a time when cities are competing with one another to attract or retain jobs within a globalizing economy, city governments are providing an array of financial incentives to stimulate job growth and retain existing jobs, particularly in high cost locations. This paper provides the first systematic and comprehensive analysis of datasets on economic development incentives in New York City over the last fifteen years. The evidence on job retention and creation is mixed. Although many companies do not meet their agreed-upon job targets in absolute terms, the evidence suggests that companies receiving subsidies outperform their respective industries in terms of employment growth, that is, the grow more, or decline less. We emphasize that this finding is difficult to interpret, since firms receiving incentives may not be representative of the industry as a whole. In other words, their above-average performance may simply reflect the fact that the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) selects economically promising companies within manufacturing (or other industries) when granting incentives. At the same time, it is also possible that receiving incentives helps these companies to become stronger.