The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established a new program called “Opportunity Zones” that created tax advantages for investment locating in Census tracts with relatively low income or high poverty. Importantly, only 25% of eligible tracts in each state could be designated as an Opportunity Zone. We use detailed establishment-level data and a difference-in-difference (DiD) approach to identify the designation of a tract as an Opportunity Zone on job creation. We find the Opportunity Zone designation increased employment growth relative to comparable tracts by a statistically significant 2-4 percentage points over the 2017-2019 period. This result holds for many different industries and for a variety of skill levels.
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