Targeted Business Incentives and Transparency

If you are in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and are interested, I’ll be on the Kojo Nnamdi Show today starting around 12:23. I’ll be talking about targeted business incentives and transparency. Here is the show’s teaser:

States and local jurisdictions across our region use a variety of tax incentives and subsidies to attract businesses and create jobs. But information about those enticements—how much they’re worth, and whether they actually translate into increased employment and economic activity—is often unavailable to the public. We examine new initiatives to cast light on public incentives and subsidies.

The other guests include Ed Lazere of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute and Philip Mattera of GoodJobsFirst.

By way of my own teaser, I’ll quote Alan Peters and Peter Fischer. They recently reviewed the literature on targeted economic development incentives and concluded:

The most fundamental problem is that many public officials appear to believe that they can influence the course of their state or local economies through incentives and subsidies to a degree far beyond anything supported by even the most optimistic evidence. We need to begin by lowering their expectations about their ability to micromanage economic growth and making the case for a more sensible view of the role of government—providing the foundations for growth through sound fiscal practices, quality public infrastructure, and good education systems—and then letting the economy take care of itself.

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