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Did States Maximize Their Opportunity Zone Selections?

May 2018

Brett Theodos, Brady Meixell, Carl Hedman


The article questions the effectiveness of the establishment of opportunity zones on census tracts around the country, scoring each opportunity zone on investment flows and the social and economic impacts they have experienced. Data revealed that these opportunity zones, placed by state governors, were established in tracts with higher rates of poverty, vacancy, unemployment, and several other factors.

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Policy Implications

The best takeaway from this article seems to be that these sorts of place-based incentives should be targeted at places with the statistics outlined in this research: high unemployment, high poverty rate, etc. These are places that would benefit the most from economic development, as long as the residents of these areas are able to benefit from it. If the economic growth spills outside of these areas from lack of protection for residents, the point is lost.

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