First Advisor

Daniel O'Toole

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Job creation -- United States -- States, Enterprise zones -- United States -- States, Employment (Economic theory)



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 161 pages)


The objectives of this study are to investigate the impact of Enterprise Zones (EZs) on the employment of zone residents in 14 states and 60 communities. The author's investigation constitutes the "first" national study to evaluate the employment impacts on zone residents. (A comparative, supplemental, single case study on new jobs for zone residents in Portland, Oregon has been added in Appendix B.)

The results show that the impact of EZs on decreasing the unemployment rates of zone residents is significant. Also, the interventionist factors of length of time since designation, type of incentives, and number of incentives are all significant indicators of different performances between zones. The employer-based incentives of property tax abatements and income tax credits are the types of incentives that are significant. However, the descriptive factors of land use, population, and geographic size are not significantly influential. On average, the predictive model shows that a full-incentives package would result in an EZ decreasing unemployment to the level of its surrounding community in just over ten years. (The supplemental single case study also shows that the majority of new hires are zone residents.)

The major policy implications and recommendations from this study are: (1) That a full-scale incentives package with employer-based property tax abatements and income tax credits, along with other incentives, should be implemented by all state EZ programs; (2) That more economic incentives should be developed at the federal level to enhance state EZ programs; (3) That more targeted areas should be designated as EZs by the federal program, and that all states should enact targeted EZ programs; (4) That annual unemployment data reports on EZs and their surrounding communities should be mandated by the federal and state governments. (The major recommendations from the supplemental single case study are that specific data should be mandated and derived on new hires and zone residents for all EZ programs, and that a formal job referral and training provider network should be provided for all EZ programs.)


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