What Determines Where Opportunity Knocks? Political Affiliation in the Selection of Opportunity Zones

Friday February 7, 2020

Abstract

We examine the role of political affiliation during the selection of Opportunity Zones, a place-based tax incentive enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. We find governors are on average 7.6% more likely to select a census tract as an Opportunity Zone when the tract’s state representative is a member of the governor’s political party. Further, we find that this effect ranges from 0.0% to 26.4% based on the state-level processes governors used to select Opportunity Zones, such as engagement of professional advisors and implementation of public comment procedures. These effects are incremental to important demographic factors that also increased the likelihood of selection, such as lower income levels and improving local conditions. These results provide evidence relevant for current Congressional legislative proposals by informing the extent to which state-level politics and processes affected the implementation of this incentive.

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Citation

Frank, M., Hoopes, J., & Lester R. (2020) What Determines Where Opportunity Knocks? Political Affiliation in the Selection of Opportunity Zones. Available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3534451