Economic Development Quarterly

The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is home to Economic Development Quarterly (EDQ). EDQ is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing and bringing to the attention of policymakers, decision makers, and researchers the latest quality research findings in economic development.

Upjohn’s mission, vision, and core values of providing unbiased quality research in the areas of employment policy, labor market analysis, and economic and workforce development initiatives closely align with that of EDQ’s mission to promote research supporting the formulation of evidence-based economic development policies, programs, and practices.

We invite you to browse our most current issue, and encourage authors to submit research to EDQ in the areas of Economic Development Theory, Location Theory, Economic Development Finance, Foreign Trade, Economic Development Incentives, Industry Studies, State and Local Economic Development Policy, Labor Economics and Workforce Policy, and Urban and Regional Economies. For questions or additional information please contact: George Erickcek, Co-Editor; Timothy J. Bartik, Co-Editor; Shawn Rohlin, Co-Editor; or Claudette Robey, Managing Editor, or phone EDQ at 269-385-0469.

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Latest Research Featured in Economic Development Quarterly

February 2024; volume 38 issue 1

The February issue of the Economic Development Quarterly offers four research papers that cover a wide range of important economic development topics from school financing, workforce development, and economic development strategies.

Christine Wen, in her paper “Do Economic Development Tax Abatements Affect School Finances?”, examines the financial impact on local public schools when their local governments offer tax abatements to area businesses. Pulling 2019 revenue and expenditures data from over 1,100 school districts across nine states, she finds that, overall, issuing tax abatements decreases the ability of many impacted school districts to provide educational services. The author concludes that “tax abatements are like phantom limbs: the revenues are hypothetical; the pain is real.”  Finally, the author observes that since the amount of the resulting tax cuts to the businesses is relatively small, it is highly uncertain if they are a significant factor in their expansion decisions.

Marian Negoita and Annelies Goger, in their paper “State-level Policies to Incentivize Workplace learning: Impact of a California Publicly Funded Employee Training Program,” take a deep look into a unique incumbent-worker training program in California: the California Employment Training Panel (ETP). ETP was established in 1982 and uses an employer tax to fund businesses to invest in approved training for its current workforce. The authors find that ETP generated greater business sales overall. In particular, the authors found that the program was particularly beneficial to employers with 19 to 100 workers. For very small employers, ETP had negative impacts, while for larger employers the program’s impact was insignificant or very small.

Keeping with workforce development, Amber Gallup provides a comprehensive literature review, covering 134 studies, in her paper “What we know about Registered Apprenticeship: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of 30 years of Empirical Research.” Established in 1937 under the Fitzgerald Act and further defined by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, registered apprenticeships are paid mentorships that provide on-the-job training and, more importantly, promise career pathways. In summary, she found that registered apprenticeships continue to grow and include more frontline workers today, especially in health services and some retail occupations. She further argues that they generate benefits to employers, workers, and society, in terms of higher wages, more stability in the workplace, and better services, that outweigh the cost of maintaining the apprenticeships. Finally, while they remain underrepresented, women and minorities benefit substantially through apprenticeships, as they gain increased access to good-paying careers.

Finally, Steven Bond-Smith examines the unique economic development challenges that Hawaii’s faces in his paper “Diversifying Hawaii’s Specialized Economy: Ad Spatial Economic Perspective.” The state’s well-known and large tourism industry makes it vulnerable to external economic shocks. Moreover, the lack of productivity growth in the sector limits its economic growth. The clear problems that Hawai’i is facing is that 1) it is a small-scale economy that cannot support many activities and 2) it is geographically isolated. The author suggests that it could develop temporary and rotating remote workplaces that could evolve into permanent locations for small Internet firms. While it is not prudent to target specific industries, market-based diversification efforts, such as the state’s “smart specialization” policy, could be effective.  Finally, the author points out that Hawaii’s economic development challenge is very similar to those found in other natural resource dependent communities regardless of location.

The February issue offers reviews of two books that could be of interest to many regional analysts and policy makers. First, William Graves reviews “How to Engage Policy Makers with your Research: The Art of Informing and Impacting Policy,” edited by Vorley, Rahman, Tuckerman, and Wallace. The book provides guidance on how to present research findings to policy makers, an important skill that unfortunately many researchers lack. Second, Randall Jackson reviews Conway Jr.’s “Review of Empirical Regional Economics: Economic Base Theory, Models, and Application,” which provides a useful review of how economic base models are constructed.