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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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CREATE, an economic development center at the institute, worked with civic and business leaders in Rocky Mount last summer to plan a Black Business Matters District downtown in an effort to address the racial wealth gap in the area. Executive Director Mark Little will join CREATE’s Rocky Mount partners on a panel at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 24 to share their work as part of Carolina’s Engagement Week.

On Jan. 7, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a sweeping new executive order that aims to achieve net-zero emissions within 30 years while protecting and empowering North Carolina’s underserved communities. Urban Investment Strategies Center Director Jim Johnson, who serves as chairman of the N.C. Department of Environmental Justice and Equity Board and as a member of the task force on social, economic and environmental equity, accompanied Cooper at a press conference in support of the order at N.C. A&T State University. Read Johnson's statements here.

American Indian communities face a growing housing crisis, compounding long-standing social and economic challenges. In this Kenan Insight, we examine the structural and historic factors that underlie the current lack of affordable housing, and identify several promising options for both addressing the immediate crisis and improving the broader economic situation for tribal communities.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has recently ramped up efforts to keep immigrants from entering the country and force out some who are already here – arguing these to be necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect American jobs. However, in this Kenan Insight, we summarize why these policies risk having exactly the opposite effect, harming the future health, social well-being and economic viability of our nation.

Knowledge of our changing demography can serve as both foundation and frame for how to achieve greater social, economic, environmental, and health equity in North Carolina. After describing how disruptive demographics are transforming the our state, this essay highlights a set of equity issues undergirding our shifting demography and concludes with a set of tools and strategies to make North Carolina a place where equity, inclusion, and belonging is the new normal.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, finding affordable housing was a persistent problem in the U.S. In this Kenan Insight, we look at the factors driving the nationwide affordable housing crunch, particularly for those most affected by it — low income, single-parent families.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide civil unrest spawned by the recent spate of senseless killings of unarmed African Americans have illuminated what executive development professionals have been telling private and public sector leaders and managers for quite some time. We are living in an era of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity—a VUCA World. “Certain-uncertainty” is the new normal in today’s society and economy.

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.

Why do firms offer non-wage compensation instead of the equivalent amount in financial compensation? We argue that firms use non-wage benefits, specifically maternity leave, to efficiently target workers with desirable characteristics.

The coronavirus pandemic has been especially traumatic on our country’s African American working poor. From being disproportionately concentrated in low-wage hospitality and service sector jobs to struggling with caregiving and food insecurity issues due to shuttered daycare facilities and food banks, working-poor African Americans are facing an inequitable share of financial, social and psychological challenges. What can be done to ease the burdens of working-poor African Americans, both during the pandemic and moving forward? In this Kenan Insight, Urban Investment Strategies Center Director and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship Jim Johnson invokes a little-known federal program, the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission (SCRC), as part of a strategic response to providing a coherent, place-based development plan.

An inside look at the plenary sessions of the fourth annual Frontiers of Entrepreneurship conference, which convened practitioners, policymakers and academics to discuss the most challenging issues in the field of entrepreneurship and set the agenda for future research and policy.

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.