What Should EDA Fund? Developing a Model for Pre-Assessment of Economic Development Investments
Brad R. Watts
George A. Erickcek
This paper describes the completion of a “comprehensive study of regionalism” that was conducted by a joint team of economists and economic development specialists for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The project consisted of two main activities: an examination of the factors associated with economic development success and the creation of a practical interactive tool for EDA project assessment and comparison. Findings from surveys, interviews, and project case studies are discussed in terms of their support for a positive relationship between successful economic development efforts and factors such as leadership and private investment. Also, the authors discuss the creation of a quantitative assessment model utilizing well-known approaches such as economic impact multipliers and cluster theory. The primary contribution of this work to the existing body of EDA-focused research and evaluation literature is introducing a means of using standardized scores, also known as z-scores, to compare and assess economic development projects across both industries and regions.
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