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date: 22 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article clarifies the key issues and findings relevant to public policy toward promoting local economic development through tax incentives and other business incentives. It defines incentives as public policies that, in addition to being aimed at affecting business decisions, are more or less customized to individual businesses and more or less discretionary. It reveals how tax incentives vary with incentive design. This includes financing, business target, the timing of assistance, hiring practices, and the accountability of businesses. It addresses the question of how such business incentives should be regulated and designed by different levels of government in order to maximize social benefits and, in particular, in order to increase efficiently per capita earnings. Finally, it explores the implications for federal, state, and local policy toward business incentives.

Keywords: local economic development, tax incentives, business incentives, incentive design, social benefits, local policy

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